Following a rap from the Bombay High Court, state minister and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Nawab Malik has tendered an unconditional apology for “wilfully breaching” his undertaking given to the court that he will refrain making statements against Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) zonal officer Sameer Wankhede and his family.
The minister filed an affidavit on Friday, after a division bench of justices Shahrukh Kathawalla and Milind Jadhav early this week had asked him to explain why action should not be taken against him as “prima facie” he had “wilfully breached” its order.
In the affidavit, Malik has said: “At the outset, I tender my unconditional apology to this Honourable Court in respect of the breaches of my undertaking given to this Honourable Court t as recorded in the orders dated Nov 25 and Nov 29, 2021.”
He has further stated that, “I had no intention to disrespect, dishonour, overreach or breach the said order.”
Malik has clarified that the statements pointed out by Dnyandev Wankhede, NCB officer’s father, were neither press releases nor press statements issued by him. They were a part of interview given to media outlets and that he was just replying to questions asked by the journalists.
“These responses were made by me in the belief that such responses made in the course of interviews were not within the ambit of his undertaking before the court.
He further said that he will not make any more personal comments on the Wankhedes until the high court hears a defamation suit filed against him by Sameer Wankhede's father Dnyandev.
“I however believe my statement will not prevent me from commenting on the political misuse of central agencies, and the conduct of their officers in the course of performance of their official duties hereafter,” the affidavit adds.
The HC accepted Malik's apology. It however, took note of the objection raised by Dnyandev's counsel Birendra Saraf, on the above quoted lines from the affidavit.
Saraf said that Malik must not misuse the above sentences to continue making defamatory statements against the NCB officer.
Chinoy clarified that the minister will not make any personal comments against the officer. “I (Malik) am not saying anything about his (Sameer Wankhede) personal life. His religion, caste, holidays... I am not interested,” said Chinoy.
The HC accepted Chinoy's statement but said that Malik must not make any comments on Wankhede's conduct in discharge of his past duties. It clarified that any comments on his performance of official duties must be restricted to the present or future.
Both, Wankhede and Malik had challenged the order of the single judge which, although did not restrain Malik, had observed that his tweets “actuated out of malice” and were posted on social media without carrying out reasonable verification. By consent, the HC had quashed the order.
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