Maharashtra Minister Nawab Malik must file an affidavit that his claims about Narcotics Control Bureau officer Sameer Wankhede is a Muslim by birth, and the birth certificate he tweeted, are verified, the Bombay High Court said today while hearing the defamation suit Mr Wankhede's father has slapped on the minister.
Questioning if he verified all he tweeted - as the spokesman of a national political party and a responsible citizen -- the court said, "I want an affidavit from you that the information is verified. It can be a one-page affidavit". The matter will be heard next on November 12.
Sameer Wankhede, the court said, is a public official and any member of the public has the right to examine him. It depends on Dnyandev Wankhede to prove what the minister is saying is false, added the single judge bench of Justice Madhav Jamdar.
"You have to prove prima facie that what he is saying is false. The son is not an individual. He is a public official and any member of the public can examine him... Show me every tweet and how according to you it is false," the judge added.
Arshad Shaikh, who is representing Wankhede Senior, cited the photo of Mr Wankhede's sister tweeted by Nawab Malik, in which he called her "lady don".
Reading another tweet of Nawab Malik - one that said "Sameer Dawood Wankhede ka yahaan se shuru hua farziwada (the falsification by Sameer Dawood Wankhede begins here"), he said the birth certificate the minister posted is fake.
"You are sullying the name of someone based on chats you received from someone who you claim is a drug peddler. You are making insinuations based on chats. Is this ethically, morally and legally right?" Mr Wankhede contended.
Releasing what he claimed was the birth certificate of Sameer Wankhede, Mr Malik has claimed that the officer is a Muslim by birth and his real name is "Sameer Dawood Wankhede". He also said the officer forged his birth certificate to obtain job reservation meant for Scheduled Castes.
Wankhede Senior had called it very low-level politics and earlier this month, filed a Rs 1.25 crore defamation suit against the minister. His son has alleged that the minister holds a grudge against the agency after the arrest of his son-in-law in a drugs case and is now pursuing a personal vendetta.
Mr Malik has told NDTV that that the Narcotics Control Bureau is "hiding" behind the case of his son-in-law, portraying his criticism of the agency as a case of vendetta.