Mumbai, Nov 8: The Bombay High Court on Monday directed Maharashtra minister and NCP leader Nawab Malik to submit an affidavit in response to a defamation suit filed by Dhyandev Wankhede, the father of Narcotics Control Bureau’s (NCB) Mumbai zonal director Sameer Wankhede. A vacation bench of Justice Madhav Jamdar asked Malik to file his affidavit by Tuesday, and posted the matter for further hearing on Wednesday.
“You (Malik) file your reply by tomorrow. If you can reply on Twitter, you can reply here also,” Justice Jamdar said, without passing any order restraining Malik from making any further statements against the plaintiff (Dhyandev Wankhede). Advocate Arshad Shaikh, appearing for Dhyandev Wankhede, told the court that everyday some false and defamatory statement is being made by the defendant (Malik) which then leads to further comments on social media that are further defamatory. “Just this morning, the defendant has posted a tweet about Sameer Wankhede’s sister-in-law,” Shaikh argued, adding that at least till the matter is heard, the court should either direct Malik or he should himself restrain from making any further statements.
Malik’s advocate Atul Damle, while seeking time to file an affidavit to the suit, told the court that the plaintiff cannot speak on behalf of his adult children and also cannot attribute to Malik what other persons have commented on social media. Dhyandev Wankhede, in his suit, has sought damages to the tune of Rs 1.25 crore from Malik for allegedly making defamatory comments against his son Sameer Wankhede and family through press conferences and via social media. The suit has sought an order declaring Malik’s statements as defamatory in nature and a permanent injunction restraining the NCP leader from publishing or making statements before the media, including his social media accounts.
The suit stated that the statements by Malik that Wankhede is a Muslim amounted to questioning the religious beliefs of the family by disputing that they are not Hindus. It claimed that Malik’s statements caused an irreparable loss, damage, harm, prejudice to the name, character, reputation and societal image of Wankhede and his family. The suit also sought directions to Malik to take back all defamatory statements made by him so far and also to delete all his tweets posted against the plaintiff and his family members. Sameer Wankhede had last month led a raid on a cruise ship and the NCB claimed to have seized drugs onboard. Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan’s son Aryan Khan and 19 others were later arrested in connection with the cruise drugs case. Malik has repeatedly termed the cruise drugs case as “fake” and levelled a string of allegations against the NCB officer.
Story first published: Monday, November 8, 2021, 15:17 [IST]