Mumbai: The NCP leader and Maharashtra minister, Nawab Malik, tendered an unconditional apology for his remarks on NCB Zonal Director Sameer Wankhede after the former was being pulled up by the Bombay High Court. He had earlier assured the court that he would not air such comments.
Earlier on Tuesday, the Bombay High Court issued notice to Maharashtra Cabinet Minister and NCP leader Nawab Malik with regard to the statements against NCB’s Mumbai unit chief Sameer Wankhede’s family. After which Nawab Malik and his family had agreed before the Bombay High Court that they will not make any direct or indirect statement.
The court had concluded that Malik had wilfully breached his own statement and spoke against NCB Zonal director Sameer Wankhede and his family. Wankhede’s father, Dnyandev Wankhede, had approached the court.
The statement by Nawab Malik read, “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.”
Malik further added, “I had no intention to disrespect, dishonour, overreach or breach the said orders.”
Nawab Malik explained that the breaches happened as these were responses to queries of the media. “These responses were made by me in the belief that such responses made in the course of interviews were not within the ambit of the statement made on my behalf to 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.”
Malik ended his three-page affidavit by stating, “I, however, believe that my statement would not prevent me from commenting on the political misuse of central agencies and the conduct of their officers in the course of their duties.”
The High Court had asked Malik to say why action should not be taken against him for the wilful breach. During the hearing before Justices S J Kathawalla and Milind Jadhav, Advocate Aspi Chinoy representing Malik said, “We are tendering a short affidavit. Both expressed regret and explained why it happened.” However, the court wanted to know from Advocate Birendra Saraf, representing Wankhede, what he had to say about the apology.
Saraf said, “As long as they abide by it, I don’t have a problem. But please read the last line about him wanting to talk 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.”
Advocate Birendra Saraf and Divakar S Rai were representing Dnyandev Wankhede in the case.
Justice Kathawalla then said, “You will not speak about this officer. Mr Chinoy you also know what this is all about. He is a minister, he is not a lay person.” Chinoy clarified, “He will not speak about his family, holiday or whatever happened in the past, but as an officer, Malik has a right to speak about his (Wankhede) professional duty.”
Justice Kathawalla, while dictating the order, said that the unconditional apology was accepted and no further order was needed.
Malik had been addressing press conferences and had been posting on social media Sameer Wankhede, his father Dhyandev and others since October this year. Dhyandev Wankhede had approached the Bombay high court against Malik with a defamation suit.
In November, Nawab Malik gave an undertaking before a division bench of Bombay High Court that he would not tweet against Sameer Wankhede till the court hears the matter next. However, after a long hearing, Justice Madhav Jamdar observed that Malik was tweeting with malice as his own son-in-law had been arrested by Wankhede. Although, the court had refused to restrain Malik. Against that order, Wankhede approached the division bench of Justices Kathawalla and Jadhav.