A Delhi court has rejected the plea of suspended BJP MP Kirti Azad and two others seeking discharge in a criminal defamation complaint of an under-19 cricketer’s father in the DDCA controversy. Metropolitan Magistrate Harvinder Singh rejected the plea filed by Azad, former cricketer Bishan Singh Bedi and Sameer Bahadur, who is also associated with cricket, seeking relief in the case.
“There exists grave suspicion that imputation(s) was made by the accused number 1 (Surinder Khanna, also a former cricketer) in active connivance/conspiracy of accused persons number 2 to 4 (Azad, Bedi and Bahadur),” the court said, while rejecting the application.
In their application, the three accused claimed they had nothing to do with the alleged offences and said they had only expressed their opinion on corruption and mismanagement in DDCA. They claimed that they had never levelled allegations against any specific person or the complainant and the evidence produced by the complainant were not beyond doubt.
“Merely by sitting in the press conference does not mean that accused 2 to 4 were supporting accused number 1,” the plea had said.
Advocate Gajinder Kumar, the counsel for the complainant, opposed the application saying the defamatory remarks were made by accused Khanna in conspiracy with the other three accused. He also said that the press conference, where the imputations were made, was called by Azad.
The complainant had alleged that the accused persons had made false statements with “mala fide intention” regarding his son’s selection in the team for Vijay Hazare Trophy.
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Azad, Khanna and Bahadur were granted bail on September 9 last year on a personal bond of Rs 10,000 each and a surety of like amount. Bedi was granted bail subsequently. The court had on July 11 summoned all the four persons as accused after noting that prima facie there was enough material to summon them in the case.
Complainant Tejbir Singh had earlier told the court that a media briefing was held by Azad, Bedi, Khanna and Bahadur, in which they had alleged that Rs 25 lakh was paid for the young cricketer’s selection.
“They said the allegation has brought disrepute to the player who is performing well and has made it into the playing squad on his own merit,” the counsel had said. He had said that whatever may be the motive of the accused in making the statement, whether for politics or to highlight corruption in DDCA, the young cricketer’s name has been allegedly defamed.
“All accused have been members of the Cricket Improvement Committee and in furtherance of conspiracy and in connivance, have committed several offences besides offence of defamation as defined and made punishable under section 499 and 500 of IPC,” the complainant said in the plea.
“Such explicit false imputations and malafide statements have been made with specific intention to defame complainant and his son and with intent to lowering their reputation and esteem in the eyes of the public at large,” it said.