By LE Desk

Bengaluru, June 22, 2021: A court here has directed former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda to pay Rs two crore as damages to the Nandi Infrastructure Corridor Enterprises (NICE) for his “defamatory statement” against the company in a television interview 10 years ago.

The Eighth City Civil and Sessions Judge Mallanagouda found basis in the plaint filed by the NICE, whose promoter and managing director is Ashok Kheny, a former Bidar South MLA, news agency PTI reported.

Referring to the interview telecast by a Kannada news channel under the caption “Gowdara Garjane” on June 28, 2011, the court directed Deve Gowda to pay damages of Rs two crore to the company for the loss of its reputation on account of defamatory comments made by him.

The JDS supremo’s outburst was against the NICE project and he had called it a ‘loot’.

The court observed that the project in question has been upheld by the High Court of Karnataka and the Supreme Court in their judgments.

The project undertaken by the company is a massive one which is in the larger interest of Karnataka, the court said in the June 17 order.

“Hence, if defamatory statements like the present one are allowed to be made in future, definitely, implementation of such a massive project like the present one, which is undertaken in the larger public interest of the State of Karnataka, is going to be delayed. Therefore, this Court feels that it is necessary to curb such statements by issuing permanent injunction against the defendant,” the court observed, reported PTI.

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