A City Civil and Sessions Court in Bengaluru has directed former Prime Minister and Janata Dal (Secular) leader H.D. Deve Gowda to pay damages of Rs. 2 crore to the Nandi Infrastructure Corridor Enterprise (NICE) Limited for ‘loss of reputation’. NICE had filed a case alleging ‘defamatory comments’ by the former Prime Minister in an interview to a Kannada news channel in June 2011.
The order issued by judge Mallanagouda also restrained Mr. Gowda from making defamatory statements against the company in the media in future.
The counsel for the company argued that the allegation made by Mr. Gowda about utilising more land than required for implementation of the project was inaccurate. The company had no role in deciding the quantity of land required for the project. The allegation, therefore, was false and made by the defendant without there being any documentary evidence. The counsel also contended that the project was approved by the Karnataka government.
The High Court of Karnataka and the Supreme Court had issued directions to the State government to take steps for implementation of the project, which showed that there was no illegality and irregularities in the work.
The company had demanded Rs. 10 crore from Mr. Gowda as damages.
The court concluded that Mr. Gowda had failed to substantiate his claim against the company, which was made during the interview.