Maharashtra minister Nawab Malik on Friday tendered an unconditional apology to the Bombay High Court for his remarks on NCB Zonal Director Sameer Wankhede.
The apology was offered after the court pulled up the NCP leader for his indiscreet utterances against Wankhede despite having agreed before the court on not making any direct or indirect statement against the NCB Zonal Director.
The court sharply noted that Nawab Malik had wilfully violated his own statement and spoke against Sameer Wankhede and his family. Following his remarks against Wankhede and his family, Sameer’s father, Dnyandev Wankhede had approached the court.
After hearing a plea made by Dnyandev Wankhede’s counsel Birendra Saraf regarding the breach of the undertaking on December 3, the bench of Justices SJ Kathawalla and Milind Jadhav said, “We are prima facie satisfied that the statement made by Malik has been willfully breached by him. Before we take any action, we order him to file an affidavit stating why action should not be taken against him for wilfully breaching the statement.”
In his statement offering unconditional apology, Malik said “At the outset, I tender my unconditional apology to this Honourable court in respect of the breaches of my undertaking given to this court as recorded in the orders dated Nov 25 and Nov 29, 2021.”
He further added, “I had no intention to disrespect, dishonour, overreach or breach the said orders.”
Malik reasoned that breaches by him occurred due to his responses to questions asked by media personnel. “I made the statements to the media in the belief that such responses were not in the ambit of the statement made on my behalf in this court. I have since been advised and informed that the statement made to the court would cover any comments and responses made by me even in the course of specific questions asked in the course of general interviews.”
However, while concluding his response in the affidavit filed by him, Malik said he believed his statement would not stop him from commenting on the political misuse of central agencies and the conduct of their officers in the course of their duties.
Malik was responding to the High Court’s query on why action should not be initiated against him for the wilful breach of his statement before the court. Advocate Chinoy representing Malik said they are submitting a short affidavit to express regret and explain why the breach took place. But the court said it would like to hear from Advocate Birendra Saraf, representing Wankhede, what he had to say about the apology.
Saraf said he had no problem as long as Malik abides by his words. However, he highlighted the last line in the affidavit where Malik talked about political issues and the performance of officers. “I have no issues with him talking about others or on political issues. He should not speak about Wankhede,” Saraf said.
Defamation suit filed against Nawab Malik by Sameer Wankhede’s father
Notably, Sameer Wankhede’s father Dhyandev Wankhede had filed a defamation suit against Nawab Malik in the Bombay High Court after the NCP minister levelled serious allegations against Wankhede and made derogatory comments against his family and relatives. Justice Madhav Jamdar observed that Malik had been tweeting with malice after his own son-in-law was arrested by Sameer Wankhede. The Court had restricted Nawab Malik from making any more comments against Wankhede and his family till December 9.