Medha Somaiya, the wife of Bharatiya Janata Party leader Kirit Somaiya, filed a Rs 100 crore defamation suit in the Bombay High Court against Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut on Monday.
The suit said that Medha Somaiya came across an news article published by Shiv Sena mouthpeice Saamana on April 12 accusing her of being involved in a Rs 100-crore toilet scam. The news was picked up by other media publications, it said.
Raut is the executive editor of the newspaper.
On April 16, Raut accused the Somaiyas of being involved in the scam in Mira Bhayander Municipal Corporation and other places in Maharashtra, reported The Indian Express. He alleged that they were misusing funds for constructing toilets through Yuvak Pratishthan, a non-government organisation run by the BJP leader’s family.
In her suit, Medha Somaiya has demanded that Raut either pay her the money or deposit the sum with the Maharashtra chief minister’s relief fund, India Today reported.
The suit alleged that the Rajya Sabha MP’s comments were malicious and made without any proof in an attempt to malign her reputation with baseless allegations intended to create “wrong impressions in the minds of the public”, Live Law reported.
The petition stated that Raut “concocted only to indulge in some sensationalism, without any regard for truth and with a view to tarnish her image and to make wrongful gains”, according to India Today.
“Medha Somaiya is a doctorate and carries a high reputation in society and in her profession,” it said. “The defamatory materials have hurt her tremendously by lowering her standing in society and in the eyes of the general public, well-wishers, etc.”
She has sought a permanent injunction prohibiting Raut and his associates from commenting, printing, circulating, distributing or republishing content based on the scam that is allegedly defamatory to her, India Today reported.
Somaiya also asked Raut to publish an apology in Saamana and retract the allegations published in the newspaper.
Last week, Raut had claimed that the public was losing faith in the judiciary because of verdicts such as the one granting Kirit Somaiya anticipatory bail in the INS Vikrant case.
Somaiya had got anticipatory bail by the High Court in the case on April 12. Somaiya and his son Neil had filed for pre-arrest bail on April 9 after the Mumbai Police filed a criminal case against them on the basis of a complaint by 53-year-old former Army officer Baban Bhosle.
According to the complaint against him, Somaiya had started a campaign between 2013 and 2014 to raise funds to restore the aircraft carrier. However, the money raised was not deposited with the officer of the Maharashtra governor’s secretary but rerouted into his own business.
She had earlier too filed a defamation complaint against Raut in a local court in Mumbai.