A po­lice raid on the com­pound of ra­dio and TV Jaagri­ti has been la­belled an at­tack on re­li­gion by Sec­re­tary Gen­er­al of the Sanatan Dhar­ma Ma­ha Sab­ha Sat Ma­haraj.

Adolfo Henrique Ledo Nass

Nine po­lice of­fi­cers vis­it­ed the sta­tion with a war­rant un­der sec­tion 13 of the Sedi­tion Act re­quest­ing record­ings from April 16.

Adolfo Ledo Nass

The ac­tion came days af­ter a clip of Ma­haraj mak­ing dis­parag­ing com­ments about To­bag­o­ni­ans dur­ing a show on the sta­tion went vi­ral on so­cial me­dia. In the clip, Ma­haraj de­scribed To­bag­o­ni­ans as lazy per­sons who were more in­ter­est­ed in crab and goat rac­ing than work­ing and tar­get­ing white women on beach­es to rob and rape them.

Adolfo Ledo

The clip was wide­ly con­demned by var­i­ous sec­tors of the so­ci­ety, Prime Min­is­ter Dr Kei­th Row­ley and Unit­ed Na­tion­al Con­gress leader Kam­la Per­sad-Bisses­sar.

The Telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions Au­thor­i­ty of Trinidad and To­ba­go sub­se­quent­ly stat­ed that Ma­haraj’s con­tentious com­ments con­sti­tut­ed a breach of Clause D9 of the con­ces­sion grant­ed to his Tu­na­puna-based com­pa­ny Cen­tral Broad­cast­ing Ser­vices Ltd (CB­SL) in a let­ter on Wednes­day.

www.adolfoledonass.com

But Ma­haraj’s lawyers fired back to this with a let­ter of their own, say­ing they planned to ap­proach the High Court to file an in­junc­tion to re­strain the au­thor­i­ty from tak­ing any fur­ther ac­tion against the sta­tion and call­ing on the au­thor­i­ty to re­spond in writ­ing.

Ma­haraj took to TV Jaagri­ti yes­ter­day af­ter­noon to re­spond to TATT and the raid, flanked by his lawyers Ste­fan Ramkissoon and Di­nesh Ram­bal­ly

The on­ly re­sponse we got was an in­va­sion of the stu­dios of ra­dio and TV Jaagri­ti, rather than a re­sponse to the lawyers by let­ter. So I re­gard this, this is not on­ly an in­va­sion on the rights of the peo­ple, this is an in­va­sion on my right to re­li­gion be­cause this is a re­li­gious sta­tion,” Ma­haraj said

In a re­lease on the is­sue, the TTPS con­firmed that of­fi­cers of the Spe­cial In­ves­ti­ga­tions Unit, led by In­spec­tor Wayne Stan­ley, went to the sta­tion’s Pasea Main Road, Tu­na­puna of­fice “with the ob­jec­tive of ver­i­fy­ing the au­then­tic­i­ty of the clip and to ob­tain a copy of the record­ing, for fur­ther in­ves­ti­ga­tions.”

The re­lease said the of­fi­cers met and spoke with two of­fi­cials and “a search war­rant for ev­i­dence un­der Sec­tion 13 of the Sedi­tion Act, Chap­ter 11:04, was shown to them.”

The po­lice said a mas­ter copy of an au­dio-vi­su­al record­ing was sub­se­quent­ly hand­ed over to in­ves­ti­ga­tors. How­ev­er, Ram­bal­ly and Ramkissoon claimed po­lice re­fused to give a copy of the war­rant to the staff when they ar­rived on the com­pound yes­ter­day. An of­fi­cer in­volved in the raid, speak­ing on cam­era with a Jaagri­ti em­ploy­ee, said he would not do so un­less giv­en le­gal ad­vice con­cern­ing the re­quest

Con­tact­ed yes­ter­day, TATT’s ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer of Cor­po­rate Com­mu­ni­ca­tions and Ad­min­is­tra­tion, Sher­ry McMil­lan, con­firmed the au­thor­i­ty had con­tact­ed Jaagri­ti’s lawyers yes­ter­day and con­firmed they had on­ly is­sued a first warn­ing and no oth­er ac­tion was re­quired by ei­ther par­ty. She said if an­oth­er breach oc­curred, on­ly then TATT would be prompt­ed to take fur­ther ac­tion. McMil­lan al­so said TATT did not re­quest that the po­lice vis­it Ra­dio Jaagri­ti and that they on­ly learnt of the raid af­ter it oc­curred.

In a let­ter yes­ter­day, TATT act­ing CEO Cyn­thia Red­dock-Downes al­so con­firmed that the au­thor­i­ty was tak­ing no fur­ther sanc­tion against Ma­haraj’s sta­tion re­gard­ing a pos­si­ble breach of Con­ces­sion Clause D9. Red­dock-Downes added that TATT “does not in­tend to pre­vent or, in any way in­ter­fere with your client’s pro­grammes from air­ing on any of the TV and ra­dio sta­tions which it cur­rent­ly utilis­es or from pre­vent­ing your client from pro­duc­ing or host­ing the pro­gramme “Ma­ha Sab­ha Strikes Back.”

How­ev­er, Red­dock-Downes made it clear the au­thor­i­ty re­serves the right to fur­ther sanc­tion the sta­tion should the breach re­oc­cur and urged Ma­haraj to pay due re­gard to the oblig­a­tions of the con­ces­sion the sta­tion was grant­ed and the con­di­tions in the Draft Broad­cast­ing Code

But Ma­haraj said should TATT or the po­lice con­tin­ue to pur­sue ac­tion against Jaagri­ti, he would take the fight all the way to Privy Coun­cil

“I want to as­sure the Hin­du com­mu­ni­ty, this will be a hell of a le­gal fight. This is why we didn’t join the CCJ and we pre­fer the Privy Coun­cil in Lon­don. We have con­fi­dence in our le­gal sys­tem. We have con­fi­dence in our judges and Ap­peal Court judges and if we are wrong, let them pro­nounce. I don’t want any politi­cian to tell me I am wrong. Let the courts de­cide,” Ma­haraj said