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Ex-Politician Sues Chaudhry

Ex-Politician Sues Chaudhry

SUVA (Fiji Sun Online/Pacific Media Watch): Former National Federation Party parliamentarian Karam Chand Ramrakha has filed a libel writ against Fiji Labour Party leader Mahendra Chaudhry and the National Farmers Union in the Supreme Court of New South Wales, in Sydney, Australia.

In the writ, Ramrakha, a Sydney-based barrister, alleges that former prime minister Chaudhry libelled him in the book Children of the Indus, published by the National Farmers Union, of which Chaudhry is general secretary.

The alleged libel, Ramrakha claims, is on page 130: ³There is also some basis to the story that Karam Ramrakha and Irene Jai Narayan had informed Ratu George secretly that Koya did not enjoy the support of all NFP parliamentarians. Regrettably, at the hour of his triumph Koya had been stabbed in the back by his own people.²

The episode relates to the 1977 constitutional crisis when Sidiq Koya and the nation learnt that instead of appointing Koya as the Prime Minister following the slender NFP election victory, the then Governor-General, Ratu Sir George Cakobau, reappointed Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara as Prime Minister, and had asked his Alliance Party to form the caretaker government.

Chaudhry and the NFU are jointly sued for defamation.

Ramrakha said the allegation was false and had damaged his reputation.

Chaudhry yesterday referred all questions to FLP assistant secretary-general Lekh Ram Vayeshnoi.

"Whatever comes up, Mr Chaudhry will deal with it," Vayeshnoi said.



PACIFIC MEDIA WATCH is an independent, non-profit, non-government organisation comprising journalists, lawyers, editors and other media workers, dedicated to examining issues of ethics, accountability, censorship, media freedom and media ownership in the Pacific region. Launched in October 1996, it has links with the Journalism Program at the University of the South Pacific, Bushfire Media based in Sydney, Journalism Studies at the University of PNG (UPNG), the Australian Centre for Independent Journalism (ACIJ), Auckland University of Technology in New Zealand, and Community Communications Online (c2o).

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