Mon, 04 Dec 2023

New Delhi [India], November 21 (ANI): In Delhi's Chief Secretary Naresh Kumar's defamation case against news portal 'The Wire', the Delhi High Court on Tuesday reserved the order on the interim application, which sought directions to the news portal to take down the article.

The said article alleged a link between the Chief Secretary's son and a family that benefited from an "overvalued" plot of land when it was acquired by the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) for the Dwarka Expressway project.

The bench of Justice Sachin Dutta, after noting down the submissions made by both sides, reserved the order on a plea seeking interim relief to take down the said article. Meanwhile, the court has also issued a summons in the main suit and listed the matter for March 2024.

Delhi's Chief Secretary Naresh Kumar has filed a defamation suit in Delhi High Court and alleged that an article published on November 6 by a news portal was defamatory in nature and contained egregious inaccuracies and misleading information.

During submissions, Senior Advocate Maninder Singh, who appeared for Kumar, stated that the article was published so that social media gets active to target the reputation of my client. He is not a political person. He was instrumental in getting these inquiries in the excise policy done and bring the trust of profit.

Appearing for the defendants, Advocate Sarim Naved submitted that the article raised certain questions and they did not try to defame anyone and there are Delhi government's reports on these allegations and they had cited the Delhi government's sources.

According to the suit, the allegations made in said article are patently false, baseless and misleading, and entirely divorced from true and correct facts.

Recently, Naresh Kumar, through lawyer Bani Dikshit, sent a legal notice to the news portal and stated that "First and foremost, the attempt at a 'sensational' headline of the Defamatory Publication incorrectly portrays a perception of guilt against my client and would mislead any reader into wrongly believing that my client is involved in some illegal activity."It also stated that the contents of the defamatory publication contain egregious inaccuracies and misleading information, coupled with a selective quotation of my client's statement given to you on your approach and insistence. It is pellucid that you have been reporting misleading news in a manner that is malicious and vindictive, apart from being highly sensationalised, despite the clarifications provided by my client.

As a media organisation, you had access to the facts and disclosures made by all persons named in the report, as well as my client's detailed response dated November 6, but it transpires that you have consciously and wantonly overlooked them to further an agenda directed by malice and vindictiveness solely against my client. Even assuming without agreeing that you did not have the entire facts, it was incumbent on you, as a media organisation, to undertake a thorough investigation and due diligence before publishing an inherently false and misleading article in the public domain, said the notice.

The suit further stated that certain key facts that conveniently, and rather deliberately, do not find reference in your article include, without limitation, that it was my client, who, on his own volition, took cognizance of the entire issue wherein the said plot was being exorbitantly over-valued, and ensured that there should be no wrongful loss to the public exchequer.

In fact, but for my client's intervention, the illegalities in the NHAI award would not have surfaced and the loss to the public exchequer would not have been averted. Therefore, in the absence of any direct connection/relation of my client, it is completely irresponsible, wrong, fallacious, it added. (ANI)

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