Mumbai: Maharashtra minister Nawab Malik appeared before the state-appointed one-member high level enquiry committee headed by Justice (retd.) Kailash Chandiwal on Thursday morning. The senior NCP leader told the commission that he hasn't made any statement which could in any way affect the proceedings before the panel.
Notably, Justice Chandiwal had issued a notice to Malik on an application made by suspended cop Sachin Vaze, who claimed that the NCP spokesperson has been "brandishing all weapons" against him and prejudicing his case before the commission.
Vaze through his advocate Rounak Naik and Yogesh Naidu took exception to a recent press statement made by Malik reportedly calling him and former top cop Parambir Singh as the "mastermind" of the entire "Antilia bomb scare episode."
The commission had earlier this week issued a notice to Malik asking him to appear through his advocate and file a reply in the matter.
However, Malik appeared personally before the commission along with his legal team led by advocate Mobin Solkar.
Appearing for Vaze, Naidu read from Malik's reply wherein he has stated that "he has spoken only the truth based on NIA chargesheet... He claims that there is no reference to the proceedings before this commission."
At this, Justice Chandiwal sought to know if Malik could be asked not to make any statement against Vaze.
"Can we refrain a person when his civil rights are concerned... He is the spokesperson of a national political party," Chandiwal said.
To this, Naidu responded, "If that be so, anyone can bring in a spokesperson who can speak on any and everything...The law provides for reasonable restrictions even on the fundamental right to free speech. It must be noted that even a spokesperson of any party cannot be allowed to make such comments."
During the proceedings, Justice Chandiwal clarified, "This Commission never called Malik in person he is a minister we haven't issued any summons...let that be noted by all."
"Mylords, even I never insisted to summon him (Malik). I have nothing for or against him," Vaze told the panel.
Naidu accordingly called for a "graceful closure" to the issue raised by his client to which Solkar said that Malik hasn't made any derogatory or defamatory comment against Vaze.
Objecting the submission, Naidu argued, "This is incorrect. His client has said in a YouTube video that whatever Mr Deshmukh has stated before this commission is correct and the truth. He's brandishing my client in the public domain... If he makes truth as his the defence then he will have to prove it."
Naidu further highlighted that his client is the only person who is actively participating in these proceedings... "Vaze has been bringing as much possible material before this Commission... He is calling constitutional post holders here to testify... They are failing to comply with their oath to constitution that is to speak the truth by not coming here."
Concluding the hearing, Malik made a statement that in future he won't make any statement that could affect the proceedings before the Commission.
"Commission ke baare me mene kabhi koi statement nhi diya hai aur naahi dunga... I know commission is holding an enquiry and I have immense respect for the proceedings here," Malik, who was present in the court room, stood up and told Justice Chandiwal.
Dictating the orders, Justice Chandiwal noted, "Vaze says all weapons are brandished against him and he is put to a wall... Mr Malik submits that no statement was made based on the proceedings of this commission or the statements of Mr Deshmukh before this panel."
"It appears that NIA has shown Vaze as a suspect and further probe is on...All said and done... Malik has personally appeared and said that he has respect for the commission and knows the consequences of making any misleading statements and that he hasn't made and nor would make any statement affecting the proceedings... The statement is accepted."
Solkar interrupted urging the judge to clarify in the orders that his client (Malik) would make statements but not related to the commission.
"No astrology is required in this. It is self explanatory," Justice Chandiwal said while adjourning the hearing till February 25.