A local court on Monday issued a process (notice) to Maharashtra minister Nawab Malik on a criminal defamation complaint filed by former Mumbai BJP youth wing president Mohit Bharatiya, who alleged that the NCP leader defamed him and his brother-in-law after the NCB’s raid on a cruise ship last month.
The court in its order noted that prima facie Malik’s statements harmed the complainant’s (Bharatiya’s) reputation and offence under Section 500 (defamation) of the Indian Penal Code was made out against the NCP leader.
The Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) last month raided the cruise ship off the Mumbai coast and claimed to have seized drugs onboard. The agency subsequently arrested 20 people, including Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan’s son Aryan Khan, in connection with the cruise drugs case. Aryan Khan and some others were later granted bail.
Malik has repeatedly termed the cruise drugs case as ”fake” and levelled several allegations against NCB’s Mumbai zonal director Sameer Wankhede, who has denied the charges.
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Bharatiya in his complaint filed before a metropolitan magistrate claimed that Malik, in a press conference held on October 9 on the NCB raid and arrest of several persons including Aryan Khan, ”purposefully and intentionally defamed” him and his brother-in-law Rishab Sachdev.
On Monday, magistrate P I Mokashi in the order noted that prima facie offence under Section 500 (defamation) of the Indian Penal Code was made out against Malik.
The court said it has perused the documents and video clips of Malik’s press conference. “It is prima facie proved that the words spoken by accused Nawab Malik were such that it had harmed the reputation of the complainant (Bharatiya),” the court said in its order.
“Thereby, ingredients of (IPC) Section 500 are prima facie proved against the accused (Malik),” the court said.
“Issue process against accused Nawab Malik for offence punishable under Section 500 of the Indian Penal Code,” the court said and posted the matter for further hearing on November 29.
Bharatiya in the complaint filed before a metropolitan magistrate had sought action against Malik for allegedly committing offences under Sections 499 and 500 (defamation) of IPC.
In the complaint, Bharatiya alleged that Malik grossly misused his dominant position to defame him and his family with highly speculative statements without any evidence to substantiate his malicious claims.
As per the complaint, Malik claimed the ”NCB was acting under the influence of the BJP” and tried to connect Bharatiya with the raid.
Bharatiya further claimed Malik later also made false and absurd allegations that he (Bharatiya) had met NCB’s Mumbai zonal director Sameer Wankhede.
Bharatiya said such allegations and statements have harmed his reputation.
The complainant said he had issued a legal notice to Malik on October 9, asking the minister to cease and desist from making any further statements. However, Malik continued with the allegations and on October 11, Bharatiya sent a second legal notice, asking him to prove whatever has been stated by him or cease from making such claims. When Malik did not stop from making statements, Bharatiya filed the defamation complaint before the magistrate.