It is atrocious that our media even dared to 'announce' -- without any evidence whatsoever -- that Prof. V.S. Arunachalam (former Scientific Advisor to the Defence Minister) was the 'mole' mentioned by Jaswant Singh in his recent book; such an outrage could never have happened in a country with strong libel laws. This episode must surely count as among our media's darkest.
Do read this HT column by Arunachalam to get a feel for what he and his family went through:
... [T]he front gate had to be locked to prevent people invading our privacy. That didn’t stop a few overzealous cameramen and reporters from squatting outside hoping for some sensational developments. What then followed could only be described as pure nightmare. I was left scrambling with all the phones at home ringing incessantly and all asking the same questions about my alleged betrayal. My factual denials didn’t satisfy. With nothing to hide, I decided to stay at home, despite a few well meaning friends advising me otherwise. In hindsight, I wish I had done that at least for the sake of my family members. On seeing all the calls and people waiting outside, my sister, a heart patient had a few episodes of pain and all I could pray was that the tablets stashed under the tongue would work their magic. My son who took all the calls in the night, refusing to even think that his father was a traitor, was a broken young man in the morning after hearing numerous summary judgments from speculators and sensationalist media-men.
The ordeal ended only after Jaswant Singh 'clarified' that "it was irresponsible to accuse me." Here's the concluding paragraph from Arunachalam's piece:
Many years ago, I stood before President Venkataraman in the hallowed hall of Rashtrapati Bhavan receiving one of the nation’s highest honours. Yet a few days ago, because of a whodunit gone awry, I was being accused by zealots of unspeakable crimes against my country. I now know the transience of such recognitions: “We are all naked when faced with the absurd”.