Mahua Moitra moves Delhi HC to restrain BJP MP, lawyer, media from circulating ‘defamatory’ content against her

 Trinamool Congress (TMC) member Mahua Moitra on Tuesday approached the Delhi High Court seeking to restrain BJP MP Nishikant Dubey, an advocate and several social media platforms and media houses from posting, circulating or publishing any alleged fake and defamatory content against her.

Justice Sachin Datta is likely to hear the matter later this week.

Moitra, a member of Lok Sabha representing Krishnanagar in West Bengal, sought permanent injunction and damages against Dubey, advocate Jai Anant 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.

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

Citing a letter he has received from the advocate, Dubey said the lawyer has shared “irrefutable” evidence of bribes exchanged between the TMC leader and a businessman.

In his letter to the Lok Sabha speaker, Dubey claimed 50 of 61 questions she asked in 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 of short-selling from Hindenburg.

In her plea in the high court, Moitra denied the allegations and claimed that they were designed to damage her reputation in relation to the false allegations made by Dubey and Dehadrai against her for alleged exchange of bribe for asking questions in Parliament.

She has sought a direction to the defendants to remove or take down all the alleged defamatory and scurrilous content, including posts, tweets, re-tweets, caption, posted at their respective platforms against her.

Moitra further sought a decree and an order directing “defendant no. 1 (Dubey) and 2 (Dehadrai) to publish a retraction and an apology to the plaintiff in three English newspapers, three Hindi newspapers and three Bengali newspapers for the false and defamatory statements / allegations” made by them against her.

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.

Moitra said the lawyer was her close friend and recently, the cessation of this friendship soon took an acrimonious turn and he “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”.

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She said in the plea that various news reports, tweets and videos are being run or carried by the social media platform and media houses on their respective platforms and channels, in which “wild, unfounded, false, baseless and defamatory allegations leaked by Defendant Nos. 1 and 2 are being further propagated and thereby cause further prejudice, damage and injury to plaintiff’s reputation and goodwill”.

She claimed that her morphed private pictures were leaked which has been causing tremendous harm to her reputation and mental well-being and she is being harassed by the social media users.

Moitra added that she has sent a legal notice to all the defendants and claimed that during an exchange of WhatsApp messages on October 16, Dehadrai has admitted and accepted that all actions that he took were out of personal vendetta and on account of their lacking meritocracy, now wanted to withdraw ‘everything’.

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