Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Sumit Dass said that Kejriwal and the other leaders are required to be present on March 25, the next date fixed for framing of notice against the six accused in the defamation case.
NEW DELHI: A Delhi court on Monday summoned Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal and five other Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leaders to be present on next date of hearing as it is likely to frame charges against them in a criminal defamation plea filed by Union finance minister Arun Jaitley.
The court has also summoned suspended MP Kirti Azad as accused in the defamation suit.
Jaitley filed a defamation case against Kejriwal and Aam Aadmi Party leaders Kumar Vishwas, Ashutosh, Sanjay Singh, Raghav Chadha and Deepak Bajpayee, alleging that they made “false and defamatory” statements in a case involving the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA), thereby harming his reputation.
Jaitley said the AAP leaders made the statements to deflect public attention from a Central Bureau of Investigation probe against a civil servant working with Kejriwal.
The court allowed the plea of Jaitley as well as the AAP leaders seeking exemption from personal appearance.
The court also dismissed the plea of Kejriwal and the other AAP leaders for right to be heard on point of framing of notice in a criminal defamation complaint.
The accused had moved the court seeking a chance to be heard before it decided on whether they would be put on trial in the criminal defamation complaint.
This comes after Patiala House court had on Saturday reserved its order on a criminal defamation plea filed by the finance minister on behalf of Delhi and Districts Cricket Association (DDCA) and its vice president Chetan Chauhan against Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and suspended BJP MP Kirti Azad+ for allegedly defaming the cricketing body by making “scandalous” remarks.
Advocate Sangram Patnaik, appearing for DDCA and Chauhan, argued that all ingredients of criminal defamation are being made out under the CrPC and the complaint is squarely covered by a Supreme Court verdict where criminal defamation complaint can be filed by a company.
“In an interview to a news channel, Kejriwal had alleged that apart from financial irregularities, there were other major wrong-doings in DDCA, including sex racket.
“Kejriwal had alleged that sexual exchange is sought for by DDCA while making any player play for the team and this amounts to defamation,” Patnaik contended.
Chauhan had earlier claimed that the defamatory statements were made by Kejriwal and Azad, who himself is a member of DDCA, “to remain in public eye and gain political mileage”.
“The aforesaid actions of the accused have severely damaged the credibility and reputation of the complainant in the eyes of thousands of cricket lovers, citizens of India as well as internationally.
“It has always been a serious apprehension, which has come true in this case, where provocative statements, irrespective of their falsity, have entered the realm of the internet and social media, and are being republished and forwarded again and again making it next to impossible to squelch the same,” the petition has said.
The plea alleged that Kejriwal had made “scandalous” remarks against DDCA on national television due to which the cricketing body and Chauhan have suffered irreparable loss in the public eye. It has claimed Kejriwal’s “false” statements were immediately endorsed and repeated by Azad.
It denied all allegations levelled by Kejriwal and Azad, sought their prosecution besides damages from them.
The court had earlier recorded Chauhan’s statement during pre-summoning evidence in which he said his image as well as that of DDCA’s had been sullied in public eye.
Courtesy: Times of India