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Mahua Moitra drops media houses as parties in plea against defamatory content in Delhi High Court

Mahua Moitra drops media houses as parties in plea against defamatory content in Delhi High Court

TMC MP Mahua Moitra on Tuesday sought to delete as parties several media houses from her plea before the Delhi High Court against circulation of alleged fake and defamatory content against her.

Counsel for Moitra, while stating that he was not pressing any interim relief in the matter at this stage, told Justice Sachin Datta that the lawsuit would only continue against two defendants -- BJP MP Nishikant Dubey and lawyer Jai Anant Dehadrai.

Dubey has accused Moitra of taking bribe from a businessman to ask questions in Parliament and urged Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla to constitute an inquiry committee to look into the charges against her.

Citing a letter he received from advocate Dehadrai, Dubey has said the lawyer shared "irrefutable" evidence of bribes allegedly being given to the TMC leader by a businessman.

In his letter to the Lok Sabha speaker, Dubey claimed that 50 of the 61 questions she asked in the Lok Sabha till recently were focused on the Adani Group, the business conglomerate which the TMC MP has often accused of malpractices, more so after it was at the receiving end of a critical report by short seller Hindenburg Research.

The court on Tuesday permitted the TMC MP to file an amended memo of parties in view of her wish to delete all defendants except Dubey and Dehadrai, and also bring appropriate changes in the pleadings in the matter.

Lawyer Abhimanyu Bhandari, appearing for Dubey, argued that Moitra has committed perjury as after denying all allegations against her, she has subsequently accepted sharing her login credentials with a businessman.

The court listed the case for hearing in December.

Moitra has said lawyer Dehadrai was her close friend and the recent cessation of this friendship took an acrimonious turn and he allegedly "resorted to sending vile, threatening, vulgar messages to the plaintiff and also trespassed into plaintiff's official residence and stole some personal possessions of the plaintiff including her pet dog Henry (the same was returned later). Against such actions, the plaintiff had filed two police complaints and the same were later withdrawn by the plaintiff on account of settlement talks".

The Lok Sabha member from Krishnanagar in West Bengal has, in her plea, sought permanent injunction against Dubey, Dehadrai, social media platform X, search engine Google, YouTube and 15 media houses, and to restrain them from making, publishing, circulating per se defamatory, ex facie false and malicious statements against her. She has also sought damages.

In her plea in the high court, Moitra has denied the allegations and claimed they were designed to damage her reputation.

She has also provisionally valued the damages at Rs 2 crore and said the defendants be directed to pay her damages that shall be quantified at a later stage on account of the defamatory, derogatory and baseless statements made by Dubey and Dehadrai and published by X, Google and several media houses on their respective platforms.

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