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Tweet arrest sparks protest and a fightback

HT Correspondents , Hindustan Times  Chennai / New Delhi, November 02, 2012
First Published: 01:33 IST(2/11/2012) | Last Updated: 02:39 IST(2/11/2012)

A businessman’s arrest in Puducherry on charges he defamed Congress’ Karti Chidambaram on Twitter, triggered protests from activists who say it hurts freedom of speech.

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Ravi Srinivasan has since been released on bail and plans to contest his arrest and 15-day remand.

Karti is son of finance minister P Chidambaram. “I have a right to seek constitutional/legal remedies over defamatory/scurrilous tweets,” he tweeted on Wednesday.

Nirmal Sanjeevi Roy, Karti’s lawyer, told a TV channel the tweets comparing Karti with Robert Vadra violated section 66A of the IT Act that says offensive information spread through a computer resource to cause insult can be prosecuted.

“What I tweeted is already in public domain,” Srinivasan, who has only 16 followers on Twitter, said. “Insult from a tweet from a person who just has a handful of subscribers cannot be the same as somebody widely followed,” said Sunil Abraham of Centre for Internet and Society.

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