Issuing a legal notice to the Times of India, NCP leader Nawab Malik has threatened a Rs 100 crore defamation suit against the paper over a which claimed that the ED’s probe against Maharashtra’s minority affairs minister has expanded to include the dealings of a Gujarat-based firm which “exported CNG cylinders to Pakistan and West Asia”. The NCP leader has sought a written apology within two days of the receipt of notice and appropriate coverage of the same.
For all the misinformation published against Hon @nawabmalikncp saheb a legal notice has been issued against the following publication.
Meanwhile, Malik was on Monday sent to judicial custody till March 21 by a special PMLA court in the Dawood Ibrahim money laundering case involving the alleged purchase of land in Kurla.
The report, published on March 3, was headlined “Maharashtra minister linked to Gujarat firm that exported CNG cylinders to Pakistan: ED”. It said there were common directors on the board of the Gujarat firm Associate High Pressure Technology Pvt Ltd and Touchwood Real Estate Pvt Ltd – it said Malik’s son Faraz was on the board of the latter.
Malik said the article cannot be factually correct since no officer from the ED spoke to the publication or anyone connected to it since the matter was under investigation. The Times of India attributed the details about the ongoing ED investigation to “sources”.
The legal notice claims that the contents of the article are “defamatory, motivated and published” with intentions to cause harm to Malik and “spread misinformation” among the general public to benefit Malik’s political rivals. “Your conduct makes it unequivocally clear that the headline and the article have been published with the sole intention of cementing false imputations and allegations against my client.”
The notice claimed that ED lawyers have stated on record that they did not divulge any of the information in the article to people connected with Times of India. It stated that the publication’s actions “are not only reckless but reek of mala fides” and are “motivated by a common criminal intent”.
The notice, dated March 5, names managing director of Bennett Coleman and Co, Vineet Jain, vice chairman Sameer Jain, ToI editor-in-chief Jaideep Bose, and the journalist who wrote the article, Pradeep Thakur.
TOI executive editor Diwakar Asthana refused to comment.