Today, elhi Chief Secretary Naresh Kumar took the initiative to approach the Delhi High Court. His aim was to request specific instructions for the online news portal, The Wire. He sought the removal of a report that raised doubts about his involvement in the land acquisition process undertaken by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) for the Dwarka Expressway project.
According to The Wire's report, it alleged connections between Naresh Kumar's son, Karan Chauhan, and a family that received increased compensation when NHAI acquired a plot of land for the Dwarka Expressway project. In addition to requesting the removal of the article, Kumar has also asked the court to issue orders preventing The Wire and reporter Meetu Jain from publishing any more potentially defamatory articles.
Today, the bench headed by Justice Manoj Kumar Ohri heard the case. The court considered arguments presented by Senior Counsel Maninder Singh and scheduled further hearings for Tuesday.
The Wire had released a report on November 9, 2023, titled 'Links of son of Delhi Chief Secretary to Beneficiary's Family in Land Over-Valuation Case Raise Questions.' This report alleged ties between Chauhan and a family that received increased compensation for a 19-acre land in Delhi's Bamnoli village, acquired by NHAI for the Dwarka Expressway.
Following this publication, Kumar, through Advocate Bani Dikshit, sent a legal notice to The Wire and Meetu Jain on November 13, demanding the article's removal within 48 hours. The notice labeled the report as defamatory, false, baseless, and misleading. Kumar asserted that he had independently addressed the issue to prevent any misuse of public funds. He highlighted his initiative in referring the case to the CBI on October 20, 2023, based on his recommendation.
Notably, Delhi's Vigilance Minister, Atishi, submitted a preliminary report to Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. The report alleged that Kumar benefited from a company associated with his son, garnering ₹897 crore in profits. Atishi recommended a CBI investigation and the suspension of Kumar and Divisional Commissioner Ashwani Kumar to prevent any interference in the probe.
The allegations included claims that Kumar's son's company secured an AI software project for ILBS Hospital without a tender, generating significant profits.
Recently, LG VK Saxena rejected the report seeking Kumar's removal regarding the Bamnoli land acquisition case. Saxena highlighted that the report was based on the minister's preconceptions and might impede the ongoing investigation.
He pointed out that the matter is already under the Supreme Court's scrutiny and being investigated by the CBI. Additionally, he addressed the unauthorized leakage of the confidential report to the media, suggesting a potential motive for initiating a media trial.
Case Title - Shri Naresh Kumar v The Wire & Ors
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