Bihar-based YouTuber Rashid Siddiquee on Friday denied actor Akshay Kumar’s allegations of defamation in connection with the Sushant Singh Rajput death case.
There was nothing defamatory in his YouTube videos about the Sushant Singh case, Siddiquee said in response to Kumar’s notice seeking Rs 500 crore in damages.
Kumar should withdraw the notice, failing which he would initiate “appropriate legal proceedings”, he said.
The Bollywood star had on November 17 sent a defamation notice to Siddiquee seeking compensation for making “false and baseless allegations” against him.
The notice sent through law firm I C Legal said Siddiquee in his YouTube channel FF News had uploaded several “defamatory, libelous and derogatory” videos.
The YouTuber, in his reply sent through advocate J P Jayswal on Friday, said the allegations made by Akshay Kumar were “false, vexatious and oppressive and is raised with an intent to harass him”.
Following Rajput’s death by suicide, several independent reporters, including Siddiquee, covered the news as many influential people were involved and prominent news channels were not providing correct information, he said.
Every Indian citizen has the fundamental right to freedom of speech and the content uploaded by Siddiquee cannot be considered as defamatory as it was “viewpoints with objectivity”, the reply said.
“The news reported by Siddiquee was already in the public domain and he has placed reliance on other news channels as sources,” it said.
It also questioned the delay in sending the defamation notice as the videos were uploaded in August, two months after Rajput’s death.
“The damages of Rs 500 crore are absurd and unwarranted and are made with the intent to pressurise Siddiquee,” the reply said.
Kumar should withdraw the notice, otherwise Siddiquee would initiate appropriate legal proceedings, it added.
“Akshay Kumar faced severe backlash after interviewing an influential politician, whereby thousands of people have made personal remarks against him on various YouTube videos and websites. Surprisingly, Kumar has not taken any action on the same, however, he has selectively chosen Siddiquee to saddle the blame of defamation,” the reply said.
The Mumbai police have already filed a case against Siddiquee for alleged defamation, public mischief and intentional insult over his posts against the police, the Maharashtra government and minister Aaditya Thackeray.
Siddiquee was on November 3 granted anticipatory bail by a local court in that case.