Bombay HC Issues Notice To Nawab Malik On Contempt Plea Filed By Sameer Wankhede's Father
The Bombay High Court issued a show cause notice to Maharashtra Minister Nawab Malik today in a contempt plea filed by Dnyandev Wankhede, the father of former Mumbai NCB Zonal Director Sameer Wankhede.
The Wankhede claimed in his plea that despite an undertaking given to the court by Malik in December last year to refrain from making defamatory public comments and social media posts against his family, the NCP leader continued doing so.
In October last year, Sameer Wankhede led a raid on a cruise ship and drugs were claimed to have been seized on board. Bollywood actor Shahrukh Khan's son Aryan Khan was among those accused in the drugs-on-cruise case.
Later, Malik had levelled a series of allegations against Sameer Wankhede.
In December last year, Malik had told the Court that the undertaking given by him would not restrain him from making public statements against the conduct of central government officers who were in breach of their official duties.
On Tuesday, Senior Counsel Birendra Saraf, who appeared for Dnyandev Wankhede, submitted transcripts of statements made by Malik in January this year during several press conferences.
Saraf told the Bench of Justice S J Kathawalla and Justice Nitin Jadhav that the statements referred to "some bogus cases by NCB officers, fraud, extortion from film actors, and (Sameer) Wankhede's alleged illegal caste certificate".
He said that Malik also spoke in these press conferences, of the present defamation suit filed by Dnyandev.
"These are not within the ambit of the concession (of speaking in general about misconduct by central government officials)," Saraf said.
"His (Malik's) reply filed in the HC merely says that his statements fall within the concession. He should have explained how. His statements are in breach of the HC order and some appropriate action must be taken," Saraf told the High Court.
However, Malik's Counsel Karl Tamboly told the HC that his client had not named Sameer Wankhede in the press conferences mentioned by Saraf.
Tamboly said Malik had spoken about the former NCB officer's caste certificate being illegal, but it was because such illegality was the very premise of the complaint filed by the minister against Sameer Wankhede before the state caste scrutiny committee.
The High Court asked why the NCP leader continued to talk publicly about Sameer Wankhede's caste certificate being illegal, when the scrutiny committee was yet to take a decision?
"What are you (Malik) trying to do? Is there a decision on whether the caste certificate is illegal or not? If not, then how can he (Malik) say it is fake?" the High Court said.
"You are continuing it. Naming him (Sameer Wankhede) at the press conference is not within the ambit of our order, (accepting Malik's undertaking)," the Court said.
While Tamboly reiterated that Malik had not named Wankhede in the press conferences and that Saraf had submitted an incorrect transcript of the same, the High Court said that if such was the case, then Malik should have submitted his own set of transcripts.
"If the respondent (Malik) is not accepting the veracity of the press conference transcripts submitted by the petitioner (Dnyandev), he ought to have submitted his own transcripts," the High Court said.
"We, therefore, direct the registry to issue a show cause notice to the respondent (Malik)," the Bench ordered.
The Court directed Malik to respond to the show cause notice by February 21, the next date of hearing on Dnyandev Wankhede's contempt plea.
With PTI inputs