Jindal Aluminium Ad: HC Issues Notice To Sinha

New Delhi, May 30: | Updated: May 31 2002, 05:30am hrs
The Delhi High Court on Thursday issued a notice to finance minister Yashwant Sinha following a writ petition by SR Jindal of Jindal Aluminium Ltd against a defamation complaint filed by the minister.

A division bench comprising justice Devender Gupta and justice Shameet Mukherjee also issued notices to the Centre, Delhi government, and finance ministrys legal cell director Amita Suri.

The writ was filed for quashing of a criminal complaint against Mr Jindal pending in the Tis Hazari Courts, Delhi. Senior counsel PN Lekhi appearing on behalf of Mr Jindal submitted that the criminal complaint was filed by Mr Sinha under sections 499 and 500 of the IPC which deals with defamation. This was done following advertisements released by Mr Jindal and BD Garg, president, Jindal Aluminium, protesting against higher custom duty on aluminium imports.

On July 25, 01, Mr Garg released the first ad. On July 7, 01, the Centre had filed a writ petition in the Karnataka High Court seeking an injunction to restrain Mr Jindal from protesting against higher custom duty. The injunction was refused and petition withdrawn.

On July 28, 01, the Centre again filed a suit for injunction in a Bangalore court against Mr Jindal. Interim relief was not granted. On the same day, Mr Jindal held a press conference in Bangalore protesting against higher custom duty. On August 21, 01, Mr Jindal released another ad titled Turbulence.

It was alleged that on October 22, 01, government counsel Sanjay Jain wrote to Ms Suri enclosing a draft of the proposed complaint against Mr Jindal and Mr Garg. He further alleged that on November 16, 01, the counsel sent a revised draft of the complaint deleting Mr Gargs name as one of the accused, as desired by Mr Sinha. On December 21, 01, Mr Jain was appointed as special public prosecutor by the finance ministry. This appointment, Mr Lekhi alleged, was in blatant disregard of the allocation of business rule of 1961.