New Delhi, Apr 9 (PTI) NBA activist Medha Patkar was today cross-examined before a Delhi court in a defamation case lodged by her against Khadi Village and Industries Commission (KVIC) Chairman V K Saxena, during which she denied having deliberately concealed facts to tarnish his image.
Patkar and Saxena have been embroiled in a legal battle since 2000 after she filed a suit against him for publishing advertisements against her and the Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA).
Saxena, in turn, had filed two cases against her for making derogatory remarks against him on a TV channel and issuing a defamatory press statement against him.
The NBA activist, during her cross-examination before Metropolitan Magistrate Nishant Garg today, was confronted by Saxena’s counsel with the facts of a separate complaint lodged by her against the KVIC chief for allegedly physically assaulting her in Sabarmati Ashram in Gujarat in 2002.
When Saxena’s counsel Mahipal Ahluwalia asked her about having pressed molestation charge against him, she denied and said it was a physical assault but in the overall context, it was molestation.
However, the court noted that there were no allegation of molestation in the complaint, the copy of which was also shown to her.
The activist had referred to the “molestation” allegation in her defence while recording her statement at the last date of hearing, following which the documents in connection with this case were submitted by Saxena before the court today to establish that there was no charge of molestation.
Patkar was also asked about her opposition to the Maheshwar hydro project in Madhya Pradesh at the behest of World Commission on Dams (WCD), a now-defunct body with which she was associated.
The activist did not agree with the allegation that she had opposed the project at the behest of the WCD and said she did not know whether the WCD had received any funding from foreign thermal power manufacturing companies.
Patkar also said she had not received any money on behalf of the Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) and said the money from the Right Livelihood Award received in her name was deposited in the account of a separate organisation – Jan Sahyog Trust.
“I am a trustee of Jan Sahyog Trust. The Right Livelihood Award was received in the name of late Baba Amte and myself and since NBA did not want to take the foreign money, it was deposited into the specially formed trust i.e. Jan Sahyog Trust with the condition that it will not support the NBA,” she said.
The cross-examination could not be concluded today and shall continue on July 9.
“Further cross examination is deferred due to paucity of time,” the magistrate said.
The activist had on February 13 told the court that she was defamed by an advertisement published by Saxena in November 2000 and the imputations made in the publication affected her reputation and fame and caused her immense harm.
Saxena, who was the President of Ahmedabad-based NGO National Council for Civil Liberties, during his cross examination in the defamation case filed by him against the activist, had on December 8 last year alleged that the NBA was opposing every developmental project in the country.
He had denied having lodged a false case against Patkar and claimed that the advertisement published in 2000 about her was based on genuine documents and admitted by the activist.
He had also denied the suggestion of Patkar’s counsel V K Ohri that the advertisement titled “True face of Medha Patkar and her NBA” published on November 10, 2000 was based on false documents with an intention to defame her.
Patkar and Saxena had earlier refused the suggestion of the court to settle the matter through mediation.
This is published unedited from the PTI feed.