Congress MP Shashi Tharoor on Wednesday sent a legal notice to Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad seeking an "unconditional apology" for calling him a "murder accused".
"You are well aware that in the ongoing criminal case against Shashi Tharoor in relation to the death of his late wife Sunanda Pushkar, the offence alleged by the prosecution against him is not that of murder and the trial court is yet to frame any charges against him," read the legal notice sent by law firm Suraj Krishna and Associates on behalf of Tharoor.
"Even the police charge sheet against Shashi Tharoor does not contain any allegations of murder. Your purposeful comment that Shashi Tharoor is charge-sheeted in a serious allegation of murder seems to have some oblique motives," it said.
Accusing Mr Prasad of defaming Mr Tharoor, the notice said, "In the above circumstances, you have clearly committed the offence of defamation for which you are liable to be tried before a court of law," it said, as it demanded the taking down of the video clip from social media wherein Prasad is seen making the said comments.
"You are hereby called upon to tender an unconditional and written apology within 48 hours of the receipt of this notice for making such an untrue, false and baseless imputation against Shashi Tharoor... to avoid the consequences of a litigation," it said.
On October 28, during a book launch event, Tharoor had said he recalls an old news article where an "unnamed RSS source" had compared PM Modi with a scorpion sitting on a Shiv Linga.
"There's an extraordinarily striking metaphor expressed by an unnamed RSS source to a journalist. The RSS source said Modi is like a scorpion sitting on a Shiv Linga. You cannot remove him with your hand and you cannot hit it with a chappal (slipper) either."
The BJP later hit out at Tharoor over his remarks on PM Modi and Shiv Linga, asking Congress chief Rahul Gandhi whether he supports his party leader's comments.
The party, seeking a response from Gandhi, said he should apologise to Hindus, if he does not support the statements made by his party MP Tharoor.
Speaking to the media, BJP leader and Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said, "The Congress claims to represent the heritage of Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi. Today, under the presidentship of Rahul Gandhi it has been reduced to hurling abuses and the worst form of civil discourse."
Shashi Tharoor who is accused in a murder case has attempted to disrespect Lord Shiva.
I seek a reply from Rahul Gandhi who claims himself to be a Bhakt of Lord Shiva on this horrific denunciation of Hindu gods by a Congress MP.
Rahul Gandhi must apologize to all Hindus. pic.twitter.com/QeShJoCHDZ— Ravi Shankar Prasad (@rsprasad) October 28, 2018
He further added that he would not like to comment on Tharoor's remarks "against whom a charge sheet has been filed in a murder case", but he would like to know where Rahul Gandhi, who claims to be a Shiv Bhakt, stands on the issue.
Sunanda Pushkar Murder Case
Sunanda Pushkar was found dead in a suite of a luxury hotel in Delhi on the night of January 17, 2014. The couple was staying in the hotel as Shashi Tharoor's official bungalow was being renovated at that time.
Shashi Tharoor has been charged under sections 498A (husband or his relative subjecting a woman to cruelty) and 306 (abetment of suicide) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), but has not been arrested in the case.
(With inputs from agencies)