Outlook, Dec 8 New Delhi: Khadi Village and Industries Commission (KVIC) Chairman V K Saxena today alleged before a Delhi court that activist Medha Patkar’s NGO Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) was opposing every developmental project in the country.

Saxena made the allegation during his cross examination before Metropolitan Magistrate Nishant Garg in a defamation case filed by him against the activist, who was also present in the court, for her remarks on a television channel in 2006.

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 and defamatory statements.

“NBA is engaged in opposing all developmental projects in the country, particularly hydro power projects. They are opposing Sardar Sarovar project, Omkareshwar project and all other projects of the Narmada valley,” the KVIC chief told the court.

During the cross examination, conducted by Patkar’s counsel V K Ohri, Saxena denied having lodged a false case against Patkar and claimed that the advertisement published in 2000 about her was not based on false documents and the same has been admitted by the activist.

He denied the suggestion of Patkar’s counsel 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.

The proceedings saw heated exchanges between Ohri and Saxena’s counsel Mahipal Ahluwalia as both sides made allegations and counter allegations, leading to a warning from the court to them to maintain decorum.

After conclusion of the cross examination of Saxena, the court posted all the three defamation cases for hearing on February 13, 2018.

Patkar and Saxena had, on the last date of hearing, refused the suggestion of the court to settle the matter through mediation.

The activist had told the court that an earlier attempt to reach a compromise did not fructify as she did not accept the proposal of Saxena, also President of Ahmedabad-based NGO National Council for Civil Liberties (NCCL), asking her to withdraw another complaint against him in Gujarat.

Noting the stand of both the parties, the magistrate had said “efforts were made to arrive at a settlement but at present no possibility to settle the matter appears.”

The court had on August 17 issued a warrant seeking production of Patkar after she repeatedly failed to appear before it.

It had issued a warrant against her after she sought exemption from personal appearance on the grounds that she was arrested by the Indore Police and sent to jail during her protests in Madhya Pradesh.

Costs of Rs 10,000 were also imposed on Patkar on August 3 for her repeated failure to appear before the court which had also warned her of dismissing her complaint against Saxena if she failed to appear again.

The court had on June 26 warned Patkar to be “careful in future” and cancelled the non-bailable warrant issued against her on May 29 for her non-appearance.

It had in January 2015 imposed Rs 3,000 as costs on her for non-appearance.

Web: https://www.outlookindia.com/newsscroll/nba-opposes-every-developmental-project-in-india-kvic-chief-alleges-in-court/1205340