A Delhi court today took cognisance of a criminal defamation plea filed by Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain against a BJP MLA who had alleged that he was circulating illegitimate money. Metropolitan Magistrate Shefali Barnala Tandon listed the matter for July 14 for recording pre-summoning evidence in support of Jain’s complaint against BJP MLA Manjinder Singh Sirsa and three senior officials of a media house. The court had earlier fixed July 14 for recording pre-summoning evidence in another defamation complaint that Jain had filed against sacked Delhi minister Kapil Mishra.
Advocate Gautam Dhamija, appearing for Jain, argued that Sirsa had alleged that the minister was circulating huge amounts of illegitimate money within the party. Jain has also accused the media house for publishing the alleged “libellous and slanderous statements” made by Sirsa, an MLA from Rajouri Garden in west Delhi.
The counsel argued that the allegations were made in front of the national media but only one newspaper published them, showing that they were hand in glove with each other. On May 19, Jain had filed two criminal defamation complaints against Mishra and Sirsa for allegedly defaming him by levelling graft charges against him. If convicted, the offence of defamation entails a maximum punishment of two years.
In his complaint against Mishra, who was earlier heading the water department, Jain said that on May 7 he had made a statement before the media accusing him of handing over a bribe of Rs 2 crore to Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on May 5. He has said his family members and a lot of people from his constituency had questioned him about the incident which had caused irreparable damage to his reputation.
Regarding Sirsa, Jain said the MLA made libellous statements on May 9 and levelled corruption allegations against him. Making a statement on the basis of “hearsay” without any proof or evidence supporting it is not only unbecoming of an MLA but also a crime of defaming a person, he said.