Mumbai: Maharashtra minister Anil Parab on Tuesday, September 21, filed a defamation suit in the Bombay high court against BJP leader Kirit Somaiya for allegedly making malicious, malafide and defamatory statements against him.
Parab, who is the transport minister in the state cabinet, has demanded monetary damages of Rs 100 crore.
Parab had last week sent a legal notice through his advocate, Sushma Singh, to Somaiya but said he had approached high court as Somaiya had not responded to the notice.
Parab also requested a direction to Somaiya for an unconditional apology, who he has accused of seeking cheap publicity. He has also sought a permanent injunction against Somaiya from making or publishing any statement against him in the future.
The Bharatiya Janata Party, of which Somaiya is a leader, is in the opposition in Maharashtra where the government is run by the Shiv Sena, to which Parab belongs.
Indian Express has reported that in his suit, Parab cited Somaiya’s tweets to allege that the latter had made remarks that were “motivated, unverified, frivolous, bogus and malafide” and were construed in an effort to link him to the illegal construction of a resort in Maharashtra’s Ratnagiri district. His alleged smear campaign, the suit says, began in May 2021.
Parab has claimed he has no connection to the resort.
Express has reported that the successive tweets posted by Somaiya on the issue were covered by media across the country, as a result of which he was “being beseeched by journalists, colleagues in the government and within his political party.”
“The plaintiff (Parab) has already faced several queries from his seniors and colleagues in the government, from his political party and family regarding the false allegations made by the defendant (Somaiya),” the suit said.
“The plaintiff’s good name, image and reputation has been spoiled by the defendant for his two minutes of media spotlight and fame,” it added.
Somaiya has not commented on the suit yet.
The suit further said that Parab has been discharging his duties as a minister honestly and diligently.
Less than a week ago, the Bombay high court deferred the hearing in a petition filed by suspended Regional Transport Officer Gajendra Patil, who had levelled charges of corruption and misconduct against Parab and several other high-ranking officials in the transport department.
The court had observed that courtrooms “should not be used for political battles.”
The Enforcement Directorate recently summoned Anil Parab for questioning in the money laundering case registered against former state minister Anil Deshmukh and others.
A few days ago, Parab had been visible on camera, directing police over phone to arrest Union minister Narayan Rane.
(With PTI inputs)