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Nawab Malik in reply to Wankhede defamation case: Can’t file suit on kin’s behalf without court nod

Nawab Malik said Dhyandev Wankhede has 'failed to demonstrate as to how the statements were defamatory, slanderous or libellous', adding that the defamation suit is 'nothing but an attempt to cover up the illegalities committed' by his son Sameer Wankhede.

Written by Omkar Gokhale | Mumbai |
Updated: November 9, 2021 9:07:33 pm
Minister Nawab Malik during a press conference at Kurla, in Mumbai (Express Photo)

Maharashtra cabinet minister and NCP leader Nawab Malik on Tuesday contested allegations made against him in a defamation suit filed by Dhyandev Kachruji Wankhede, father of NCB Zonal Director Sameer Wankhede. The suit, filed in the Bombay High Court, seeks Rs 1.25 crore in damages from Malik.

The NCP leader stated that the plea was not maintainable as the plaintiff cannot file a representative suit on behalf of his family members without the court’s permission.

Malik’s reply, a short affidavit, was filed after a single-judge vacation bench of Justice Madhav J Jamdar on Monday directed him to do so. The judge has been hearing Dhyandev’s plea for interim relief, including deletion of articles, tweets, interviews in electronic and social media, and a temporary injunction restraining respondents from publishing, writing and speaking in any media.

Last month, Malik had shared a birth certificate, purportedly of Sameer Wankhede, stating that his father is one Dawood Wankhede. Sameer then issued a statement clarifying that his father is Hindu while his mother was Muslim. The plea claimed that Malik’s tirade against Sameer Wankhede started only after the former’s son-in-law, Sameer Khan, was arrested by the NCB in January for allegedly trading contraband.

Malik, in his reply, claimed that the statements made against him are inconsistent and that Dhyandev has “distorted facts and has concocted stories” to make a feeble attempt to obtain orders against him.

The reply stated that the plaintiff was required to obtain permission of the court under Civil Procedure Code (CPC) to file a suit in representative capacity on behalf of his family members, which Dhyandev did not do.

Malik further claimed that Dhyandev’s family members have not initiated any legal proceedings controverting the evidence he produced to “defend their civil rights” if they had been infringed upon.

Malik submitted that he has produced sufficient documentary evidence in support of his claim, whose authenticity and admissibility can be decided only at the stage of trial. He added that Dhyandev has “failed to demonstrate as to how the statements were defamatory, slanderous or libellous” and could not produce even a single documentary evidence to support his claims or contradict Malik’s.

Malik said the issue pertaining to the birth certificate is being investigated by appropriate authority.

“Plaintiff has made big hue and cry when the Defendant has produced this birth certificate, thereby alleging that his name is not Dawood and he nor his son, are Muslim by religion. The said certificate is issued by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC). If the said birth certificate issued by the BMC is false, then it is for the Plaintiff or said Sameer Wankhede to take corrective steps and pursue it with BMC… Till date, he has not produced any other birth certificate to contradict the birth certificate produced by the defendant, which falsifies the plaintiff’s case to great extent.”

The NCP leader further added that allegations levelled by various persons against Sameer Wankhede of making panch witnesses, including Prabhakar Sail, in the cruise ship drug case sign blank papers, are being investigated by a vigilance team of NCB and an SIT of Maharashtra police.

Malik said the present suit is “trying to curtail freedom of expression as per Article 19 of the constitution, which he uses for public good.” “The present suit is nothing but an attempt to cover up the illegalities committed by the Plaintiff’s son and the same should be dismissed,” he urged.

The HC is likely to hear the plea on Wednesday, November 10.

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