Updated: September 21, 2021 6:23:20 pm
Maharashtra transport minister and Shiv Sena leader Anil Parab on Tuesday filed a Rs 100-crore defamation suit against BJP leader Kirit Somaiya at the Bombay High Court for allegedly making ‘malicious, malafide and defamatory’ statements against him.
In his suit, Parab referred to tweets by Somaiya and said that the defendant made “motivated, unverified, frivolous, bogus and malafide” remarks against him in an effort to link him to a reportedly illegal construction in Dapoli, Ratnagiri district. Parab said that he had “no connection whatsoever” with the said construction as alleged by Somaiya.
Parab claimed that successive tweets by Somaiya on the issue were covered by the media across the country, as a result of which he was “being beseeched by journalists, colleagues in the government and within his political party.”
“The defendant (Somaiya) has a known political rivalry with the Plaintiff. In addition, the defendant, for several years, has had a personal envy and grudge against the plaintiff… Somaiya is aware that making tall but false allegations of a reckless nature with scant disregard to verification of facts, attracts media attention,” the minister said.
Parab said that he has no connection with the construction of a resort carried out in Dapoli, as he had sold the said plot to one Sadanand Kadam through a registered sale deed in December, 2020.
He said that after the BJP leader realised that he was no longer the owner of the plot, the latter changed his stance and started accusing him of holding “benami properties”.
Parab said that “as of date, not a single statutory agency or authority has issued any notice” to him in relation to any scam. The Maharashtra minister has also mentioned in his plea that Somaiya accused him of carrying out “extortion”.
Parab further said: “The imputations are not only baseless but have clearly been made with deliberate and wilful intention to harm… and lower the plaintiffs moral and intellectual character. They are per se highly defamatory to the plaintiff and do not contain an iota of truth. Contents of each of the said publications is a libel to gain cheap publicity at the cost of the plaintiff’s reputation and has created a completely false impression amongst the readers of the same all over the world.”
On September 14, Parab had issued a legal notice to Somaiya asking him to cease and desist from making defamatory statements, delete all tweets made against him, and issue an unconditional written apology.
Somaiya did not act upon the notice within 72 hours, and did not reply to the same, prompting Parab to approach the HC seeking directions to Somaiya to pay Rs 100 crore as damages for defamatory allegations. Parab also sought an unconditional apology on affidavit along with a public apology in at least two leading English and regional newspapers and a tweet on Somaiya’s personal Twitter handle. The plea has also sought for permanent injunction against Somaiya from making any defamatory statements against Parab.
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