‘Would be anguished to take fellow MP to court’: Manish Tewari and Priyanka Chaturvedi clash over Tarun Tejpal’s acquittal

Manish Tewari Priyanka ChaturvediShiv Sena MP Priyanka Chaturvedi said that it was Manish Tewari who chose to jump in on her timeline as she had not tagged him in the first tweet.

Former Union Minister, Congress leader and Lok Sabha MP from Sri Anandpur Sahib Manish Tewari was today engaged in a war of words on Twitter over Tarun Tejpal’s acquittal in the alleged rape case. Tewari even ‘threatened’ Chaturvedi with legal action for her comments. It all started after Tewari shared a link to the teaser of Tarun Tejpal’s new book while saying that Tejpal was ‘much-maligned, hugely politically persecuted’.

“My college Senior the much maligned, hugely politically persecuted &now honourably exonerated the brilliant & mercurial Tarun Tejpal has written this teaser of his new book Animal Farm. Tarun at his evocative & provocative best. Welcome back friend,” said Tewari.

However, the use of the word ‘politically persecuted’ triggered a massive backlash on Twitter with Shiv Sena Rajya Sabha MP and former Congress spokesperson Priyanka Chaturvedi slamming the ‘sick mindset’.

“Today I got to know that Tarun Tejpal was ‘honorably exonerated’ and ‘politically persecuted’. To rubbish a woman’s sexual assault by this cosy club, smacks of their sick mindset. They believe they can behave as they wish around women and laugh off the serious crime. Shameful,” she said without tagging Tewari in her tweet.

She also said that since the Goa government has challenged the district court verdict acquitting Tejpal in the Mumbai High Court, so the celebration of exoneration can hold. “More power to the young lady who had the courage to take such powerful clique head on,” she said.

To this, Manish Tewari asked Chaturvedi to approach the court if she has a problem with the judgement. “Unlike you Priyanka Chaturvedi, as a lawyer I know how to read a judgment and respect it. Tarun Tejpal was tried and found innocent. That is the cold hard fact. Goa Government has gone to High Court. If you have a problem say what you have too in the High Court of Mumbai and Goa,” he said.

Reacting to Manish Tewari’s tweet, Priyanka Chaturvedi said that ‘just being a lawyer and ability to read a judgement’ doesn’t put him ‘on a higher plane’. “Unlike you Manish Tewari, just being a lawyer and ability to read a judgement does not put you on a higher plane. Also this is a free platform. I have a right to opinion as much as you have a right to pat the back of an alleged rapist,” said Chaturvedi.

This possibly irked Tewari who said that he ‘would be anguished to take a fellow MP and former Colleague to Court’. “It actually does Priyanka Chaturvedi. It makes me acutely conscious about respecting rule of law & judgments delivered by Courts established under our Constitution. Please do not cross the line of libel & defamation. I would be anguished to take a fellow MP & former Colleague to Court,” said Tewari threatening her with legal action.

The Shiv Sena MP said that it was Tewari who chose to jump in on her timeline as she had not tagged him in the first tweet. “Ooh! Threat to silence. Typical. As a lawyer should realise my first tweet wasn’t even tagged or marked to you, you chose to jump in and I responded in kind,” said Chaturvedi.

Manish Tewari then said that the law of libel recognises a slur by implication as well and added that ‘ignorance of the law is bliss’. After this, Priyanka Chaturvedi chose to end the argument. “Ignorance of law is better than ignorance of morality. For the former one can hire lawyers, the latter unfortunately can’t be taught, is ingrained. EOD, refuse to engage,” she said.

In May this year, the Mapusa District and Sessions Court in Goa had acquitted Tejpal in a 2013 sexual harassment and rape case filed against him by his former colleague. The Goa government had then moved the higher court challenging the verdict.

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