Bamnoli land acquisition: HC reserves order on Delhi chief secretary’s plea for interim relief

The Delhi High Court on Tuesday reserved its order on a plea by Chief Secretary Naresh Kumar seeking interim relief in a defamation plea filed against news portal The Wire’, over its alleged defamatory article casting aspersions on him in relation to the Bamnoli land acquisition matter.

The plea came before Justice Sachin Datta who said he would pass an order on the interim application.

The defamation suit was filed in relation to a news article published by The Wire’ on November 9, which alleged links of the chief secretary’s son to the beneficiary’s family.

The 19-acre land in question was acquired by the National Highways Authority of India in 2018 for the construction of the Dwarka Expressway.

Kumar, in his plea, has sought to take down the article as well as a direction to restrain the news portal and the reporter from publishing any further defamatory articles against him.

During the hearing, senior advocate Maninder Singh, who appeared for Kumar, said the article was “pre-planned” in order to “activate” people against him and to “please some people”.

The counsel for the news portal said the intention behind the article, which only raised a few questions, was not to defame Kumar in any manner.

The suit said that a legal notice was also sent by the chief secretary to the portal and the reporter on November 13, claiming that the contents of the article are ex-facie misleading and per se defamatory.

According to reports, the price of the land was increased from Rs 41.52 crore to Rs 353.79 crore in May and the Union Ministry of Home Affairs initiated action against South West Delhi District Magistrate Hemant Kumar for approving the enhanced compensation.

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