In yet another legal trouble for state minister and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Nawab Malik, the Bombay High Court has sought his response in a defamation suit filed by a Mumbai District Central Co-operative Bank (MDCCB) seeking Rs 1,000 crore damages.
Justice Riyaz Chagla on Monday asked Malik to file his reply to the defamation suit in six weeks.
The MDCCB had filed a defamation suit against Malik seeking damages alleging that the minister had put up hoardings containing defamatory remarks against the bank to harm its reputation and integrity.
The suit reads: “It is prima facie with an intention to harm the reputation and integrity of the Bank. By said hoardings, the image of the Bank is sought to be tarnished before the public at large, thereby, harming the Bank’s operation and business.”
A number of hoardings were put up in July this year at busy intersections in Mumbai containing defamatory statements against the bank which jeopardized their reputation, states the suit.
It further claims that the hoardings allegedly intended to create an impression that the bank is corrupt and their deposits are not safe, it was submitted.
The bank purportedly sent a legal notice to Malik and others asking them to remove the hoardings and demanded a public apology from the minister.
Malik refused to apologise saying that he had not put up the posters. He even denied that any member of his party was responsible for putting up the hoardings.
He further asked the bank to withdraw its notice alleging that the bank was trying to impute false allegations against him.
The Bank then filed the suit before the HC through advocate Akhilesh Chaubey which sought a “complete and unconditional apology” from Mali. It has sought that the minister publish the complete apology to the bank in a Marathi newspaper.
Apart from seeking damages of Rs 1,000 crore, the suit prays that Malik retract allegations against the bank made through the defamatory hoardings.
Pending hearing in the suit, the bank has also filed an interim application seeking that malik be directed to pull down the hoardings and apologise.