According to the Hindu Temple of Georgia, thirteen of Google, Inc. and Google India Pvt. Ltd. owners, board members, and top executives are being prosecuted in Criminal Court in India for violations of the Indian Penal Code and the Information Technology Act of 2000. The potential criminal penalties faced range from two to five years imprisonment with fines as high as one Lakh Rupees (approximately US $2,250.00).
Earlier this year, a similar civil suit has been filed against the same individuals by the Hindu Temple of Georgia. The civil suit is asking the highest dollar amount in damages ever from Google in India – “50 Crores of Indian Rupees,” (approximately US $10 Million!).
According to a July 16th 2009, letter from A.P. Jayachandran, the temple’s legal advocate in India, “if the accused do not appear in the Judicial Magistrate No. III of Coimbatore, (Tamil Nadu, India on August 28th, 2009) arrest warrants will be issued.”
The US temple’s Chief Pundit, Viswanathan Lakshmanan, explained that the case stems from Google’s alleged refusal to edit, or delete, content on Blogspot.com and Youtube.com, two websites owned by Google. The content is considered to be offensive and defamatory to the Atharva Vedic religion practiced by the Hindu Temple of Georgia located near Atlanta, which has temple operations in India.
The Criminal Case No. 36 of 2009 on file at the Judicial Magistrate No. III of Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, India, contends that Google profits monetarily from the irresponsible and hasty electronic publishing of unverified facts and figures, and defamatory slanders, that are part of a criminal conspiracy against the temple, and as such it “amounts to Cyber Terrorism.” The case asserts that due to the International Law on Cyber Space and Google maintaining a legal business entity in India, the American Google owners also fall under Indian jurisdiction.
The leader of the Hindu Temple, Dr. Commander Selvam Siddhar, said in an interview today in his temple that there had been an ongoing concerted effort to defame him and his temple by two Tamil speaking Indian-American co-conspirators residing in Georgia, Valmiki Raghunathan and Chandramohan Loganathan. In a 2006 Gwinnett County Police Incident Report Supplemental Investigation, Mr. Raghunathan admitted, “…that he was very upset…with Selvam.” He also told an Atlanta Fox 5 television reporter that Dr. Commander “had just picked on the wrong person.”
The Hindu Temple suspects that the two have spent countless hours creating a fictitious website for sending inflammatory emails, impersonating temple employees on blogsites, and posting thousands of scandalous, defamatory, and sometimes filthy, blogs which were hurtful and denigrating to the Temple and its founder.