The Delhi high court has vacated its earlier order on restraining publication of allegations of sexual harassment made against Mahesh Murthy, venture capitalist and an investor in Newslaundry. A single-judge bench presided by Justice Jayanth passed the order
Bengaluru: Mahesh Murthy is a venture capitalist. He is a big name in the media industry as well as he happens to be an investor in the web portal Newslaundry.
Three years ago, several stories detailing Mahesh Murthy’s alleged sexual misconduct were reported.
factordaily.com reported on the issue in an in-depth manner.
The web portal had reported accounts of six women -- three went on record -- dating from 2003 to 2016:
In its three-part series, FactorDaily had reported accounts of six women -- three went on record -- dating from 2003 to 2016: https://t.co/Kc33wT6csF. About 20 other instances came our way, almost always in professional relationships, but the women didn’t want to go public. 3/n— pankaj mishra (@pankajontech) July 8, 2020
The stories also revealed transgressions of the investor against authors, reporters, HR manager and woman executive in IT firms.
FactorDaily’s first story on April 21, 2017 had accounts of author @rashmibansal and an HR manager Anamika. Also, Murthy’s partners at SeedFund confirmed they had heard Murthy’s transgressions. https://t.co/lTSWm721vP 4/n— pankaj mishra (@pankajontech) July 8, 2020
The second story soon after had even more sordid details. It had the experience of @Swatisays Swati Pandey, a Reuters reporter in Sydney now, from 2003 when she was just 19 years old and two others. https://t.co/sQASRl9LmK 5/n— pankaj mishra (@pankajontech) July 8, 2020
The third story was from 2006 of a woman executive at an Indian IT giant. Murthy had exchanged sexually loaded messages with her while pitching services of Pinstorm, a marketing company he ran. Her employer chose not to do business with Pinstorm. https://t.co/PPETnGXtND 6/n— pankaj mishra (@pankajontech) July 8, 2020
But then, the accused, taking offence to the publication of stories, had gone running to the Delhi high court, seeking justice.
He had even filed a defamation case against the ones who dared to bring his sexual shenanigans in the public domain and punish him. He had filed a defamation case against 18 such daring souls.
It is also worthy of note that besides FactorDaily, journalists and executives at publications such as Deccan Chronicle, YourStory, and SheThePeople were named in the suit.
It would be of further interest to note that several women who were victims of the sexual misdemeanour of the accused, did not feel comfortable narrating their experiences in the public domain.
Factordaily notes thus, quoting Mishra, who reported the stories: “Several other instances had come before us but the women were not comfortable having their bitter experiences brought out in public. What was amazing was that these were independent accounts and the women didn’t know one another.”
However, the Delhi high court in its 2017 interim order had restrained the publication of any allegations or complaints of sexual harassment made against the accused Mahesh Murthy.
But in its latest order, the Delhi high court has observed thus: “The said defendants have a right to exercise their right of freedom of speech. If these incidents and claims of the said defendants are in trial proved to be false, the plaintiff would have a right to claim damages.”
The court further notes: “The plaintiff has failed to make out a prima facie case. In my opinion, balance of convenience is also not in favour of the plaintiff.”
Interestingly, as the court order is out, another woman Deepika Narayan Bhardwaj, a documentary filmmaker has put out a tweet saying she will talk about his misdemeanour.
Three years ago, #MaheshMurthy dragged me into a bogus defamation case at Delhi High Court first & then took a gag order on me & 18 more defendants to stop anyone from speaking about his misdemeanor. I was dragged even tho I made no public comment. Gag is lifted— Deepika Narayan Bhardwaj (@DeepikaBhardwaj) July 8, 2020
NOW I WILL TALK
How much did you pay your lawyers for the hotch potch suit @maheshmurthy ? How long will you salvage a reputation that exists only in your mind now perhaps because every individual in the industry know. Raise a toast to your petty self today that u lost the gag. Laugh at urself— Deepika Narayan Bhardwaj (@DeepikaBhardwaj) July 8, 2020
Well, many on the social media have revealed more details about him.
MyNation tried getting a reaction from Raman Kirpal, the Managing Editor and Manisha Pandey, the Executive Editor of Newslaundry, but nothing fructified. However, we got in touch with Abhinandan Sekhri, the co-founder and CEO of Newslaundry and sought his reactions on the issue.
He welcomed the order and said, “That’s great..”
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Last Updated Jul 8, 2020, 6:24 PM IST