A metropolitan court here today fixed April 7 for recording evidence in a criminal defamation complaint filed by Union minister Arun Jaitley against Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and other AAP leaders in the DDCA row. Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Deepak Sherawat was informed by Jaitley’s advocate that the BJP politician was unable to appear before the court due to the ongoing Parliament session. Jaitley had on August 5 last year accused Kejriwal and other AAP leaders — Kumar Viswas, Sanjay Singh, Raghav Chadha, Ashutosh and Deepak Bajpai — of making a series of “false, scandalous and defamatory” allegations against him, claiming it adversely affected his reputation.
The AAP leaders had alleged there were financial irregularities in the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) when Jaitley was its president from 2000 to 2013, prompting the minister to lodge defamation cases against them. The court allowed Jaitley’s plea seeking exemption from personal appearance for the day, moved by senior counsel Sidharth Luthra and advocate Manoj Taneja, and posted the matter for further hearing.
The court also granted the similar relief to Kejriwal, Vishwas and Singh. All the six accused were on March 25, 2017 put on trial in the case. The notice was framed against the accused under section 500 (punishment for defamation) of the IPC to which they had pleaded not guilty and claimed trial. A civil defamation suit was also filed by Jaitley before the Delhi High Court in the matter seeking Rs 10 crore as damages.