Nationalist Congress Party spokesperson Nawab Malik on Tuesday told the Bombay High Court that that the defamation suit filed by Narcotics Control Bureau zonal director Sameer Wankhede’s father was an attempt to cover up the irregularities committed by the officer, reported Live Law.
Malik made the statement after the High Court sought his reply on a defamation suit filed by Dhyandev Wankhede, seeking Rs 1.25 crore in damages. He had claimed that Malik, through press releases, interviews and Twitter, has made “tortious and defamatory remarks” against his son.
In the past few days, Malik has levelled a number of allegations against Sameer Wankhede, who had been investigating the Mumbai cruise ship drug case involving actor Shah Rukh Khan’s son Aryan Khan until November 5.
He accused the Narcotics Control Bureau officer of being part of an extortion racket linked to drug cases against Bollywood actors. On Sunday, Malik also alleged that Wankhede was part of a plan made by a Bharatiya Janata Party leader to kidnap Aryan Khan.
In his affidavit before the High Court, Malik claimed that none of the statements he made was false and said that he has provided evidence to support his allegations.
Malik said that the these evidence helped government take corrective steps against Sameer Wankhede.
The affidavit claimed that the evidence provided by him was thus authentic. Being a public representative, Malik said, he was only trying to expose the illegalities committed by Wankhede, a civil servant.
“The plaintiff [Dhyandev Wankhede], by filing the present suit, is trying to curtail the freedom of expression granted to the defendant under Article 19 of the Constitution of India, which the defendant uses for public good,” the affidavit said.
On the forged documents matter in which Malik had claimed that Sameer Wankhede lied about his religion to get job, Malik said he had provided the officer’s birth certificate to support his claim.
“I say that the said certificate is issued by the MCGM [Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai],” he said. “I say that if the said birth certificate issued by the MCGM is false, then it is for the plaintiff or said Sameer Wankhede to take corrective steps and pursue it with MCGM.”
Malik further said that the plea was not maintainable.
The Nationalist Congress Party leader claimed that Dhyandev Wankhede filed the suit in a representative capacity seeking relief on behalf of his adult children but failed to get prior permission of the court under Provisions of Order 1 Rule 8 of the Civil Procedure Code, 1908.
The provision makes it mandatory for a person to seek prior permission when filing a suit in representative capacity, reported Bar and Bench.
Malik also argued that the Sameer Wankhede’s family members should have initiated independent proceedings if they were defamed. He added that the petitioner has failed to provide any evidence as to how his statements were defamatory.
The defamation suit
In his suit, Dhyandev Wankhede has claimed that Malik’s comments caused “irreparable loss, damage, harm, prejudice to the name, character, reputation and societal image of plaintiff and his family members”.
Dhyandev Wankhede’s counsel told the Bombay High Court that the defamatory comments against his client’s son started when Malik’s son-in-law, Sameer Khan, was arrested by the Narcotics Control Bureau in January for allegedly trading drugs.
The counsel also said the legal practice of Wankhede’s daughter Yasmin has been adversely affected because of Malik’s claims of the family being a fraud and his questioning of their religious beliefs.