Maharashtra Minister and NCP leader Nawab Malik on Monday urged the Bombay High Court to dismiss a contempt plea filed against him by Dhyandev Wankhede, father of former NCB zonal director Sameer Wankhede.

Malik, who was physically present in HC following a show cause notice issued to him over the plea filed by Dnyandev Wankede, submitted an affidavit denying all allegations of having been in contempt of the court.

Dnyandev Wankhede, in his contempt plea filed earlier this year, had claimed Malik had violated an undertaking that the latter had given in court in December promising to refrain from making defamatory public comments and social media posts against the Wankhedes.

In his affidavit submitted before a bench led by Justice SJ Kathawalla on Monday, Malik, however, claimed that, while giving such an undertaking, his counsel had told the court that his undertaking would not constrain him from making public statements against the conduct of Central government officers that were in breach of their official duties.

And the comments and TV interviews mentioned by Dnyandev in the contempt plea came within the purview of the above concession and, therefore, "not in breach of his undertaking", Malik's affidavit stated.

The Minister, in his affidavit, said he had not named Sameer Wankhede in the press conferences mentioned before HC on the last hearing by Dnyandev's counsel, Senior Advocate Birendra Saraf.

He said he had spoken about the former NCB officer's caste certificate being illegal, and it was because such illegality was the very premise of the complaint filed by him against Sameer Wankhede before the state caste scrutiny committee.

"I respectfully submit that my right (as a spokesperson of the NCP) to criticize or comment on the political misuse of ventured agencies and the conduct of their officers in the course of their public duties cannot be restricted," the affidavit read.

"The contempt jurisdiction cannot be used for my statements on public officers and the performance of their official duties. I submit that this contempt petition be dismissed with costs," it added.

The High Court granted a week's time to Dnyandev's counsel to respond to Malik's affidavit.

With PTI inputs