Mahua Moitra's counsel withdraws from case as Delhi HC says he played role of mediator

TMC MP Mahua Moitra has filed a defamation suit in the court against BJP MP Nishikant Dubey and SC lawyer  Dehadrai for accusing her of accepting bribes to ask questions in Parliament.
TMC MP Mahua Moitra (File  Photo | PTI)
TMC MP Mahua Moitra (File Photo | PTI)

NEW DELHI: TMC MP Mahua Moitra's counsel on Friday withdrew from a case in the Delhi High Court seeking restraint orders for BJP MP Nishikant Dubey, an advocate and several media houses from circulating any alleged defamatory content against her.

Senior advocate Gopal Sankaranarayanan withdrew himself from the matter after the court was informed by advocate Jai Anant Dehadrai that he was contacted by Sankaranarayanan over phone on Thursday night for withdrawing his complaint to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) against the Trinamool Congress (TMC) leader.

Dehadrai is the advocate against whom Moitra has sought the relief.

Sankaranarayanan said that Dehadrai had instructed him in the past, and that is why he approached him.

He also said that he told his client, Moitra, that Dehadrai was a member of the Bar and he has earlier assisted him in a case so let him speak to the latter to which she agreed.

Justice Sachin Datta said he was "appalled" and added that since Sankaranarayanan tried to play the role of a mediator, is he still eligible to appear in the matter? "It's something that you need to answer yourself.

It's your call," the judge said, prompting Sankaranarayanan to withdraw himself from the case.

The court listed the matter for further hearing on October 31 on reopening after the Dusshera break.

During the brief hearing, Dehadrai, who appeared in person, said that the senior lawyer spoke to him for nearly 30 minutes over the phone and asked him to withdraw the complaint to the CBI in exchange for a dog, Henry.

The high court was hearing Moitra's petition seeking directions to restrain Dubey, Dehadrai and several social media platforms and media houses from posting, circulating or publishing any fake and defamatory content against her.

Moitra had said lawyer Dehadrai 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".

The Lok Sabha member from Krishnanagar in West Bengal has 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.

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 said the lawyer shared "irrefutable" evidence of bribes 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.

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

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

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