Maharashtra minister Nawab Malik – in a bitter spat with NCB officer Sameer Wankhede that began over the Aryan Khan case and has since included extortion and forgery allegations – has told the Bombay High Court he will not make statements against his family till December 9.
This was after a division bench of the court warned Mr Malik of an order if he continued to post what Mr Wankhede’s father – Dhyandev Wankhede – has called “malicious” material.
The NCP leader’s assurance came after Dhyandev Wankhede approached the Bombay High Court to challenge an order issued on Monday by a single-judge bench of the same court.
In that order the court refused to grant interim relief, saying Mr Malik was free to publish material about Sameer Wankhede, his father and family, but only after a reasonable verification of facts.
In today’s hearing, senior advocate Birendra Saraf (appearing for Dhyandev Wankhede) said that even the single-judge bench had acknowledged the “malicious” intent behind Mr Malik’s tweets.
He also pointed out that of the Wankhede family only Sameer was in public service (countering the earlier order’s observation that any Indian citizen had the right to examine a public official.
Dhyandev Wankhede had complained about Mr Malik’s tweets, in which the latter had alleged, among other things, that Sameer Wankhede had been born a Muslim, but falsely claimed he belonged to a designated Scheduled Caste (SC) to secure a central government job.
He had sought interim relief prohibiting Mr Malik from making any defamatory statements or tweets or social media posts against him, his son (Sameer Wankhede) or any of his family members.
Mr Wankhede had slapped a defamation case against Mr Malik and sought Rs 1.25 crore damages.
In an earlier hearing, the court directed Nawab Malik to file an affidavit verifying his claims.
The minister submitted an affidavit saying his statements were correct and that the evidence he had produced had, in fact, helped the government take corrective steps against Sameer Wankhede.
The minister’s claim was seen as referring to Mr Wankhede this month being removed from the Aryan Khan drugs case, as well as five others, amid allegations of links to a Rs 8 crore payoff.
Sameer Wankhede, however, has alleged the minister’s accusations betrayed a grudge against him for arresting his son-in-law (Sameer Khan) in another drugs case and was seeking personal vendetta.
Mr Malik told NDTV that the NCB is “hiding” behind the case of his son-in-law, portraying his criticism of the agency as a case of vendetta.
With input from PTI