A local court in Bhopal imposed a fine of Rs 100 on Union minister for water resources Uma Bharti, granting her bail and cancelling an arrest warrant against her in a defamation case filed by AICC general secretary Digvijaya Singh.
In November 2003, Digvijaya Singh had filed a defamation case against Bharti for leveling “false allegations” against him for being involved in a `15,000 crore scam. The allegations were levelled against Singh during 2003 assembly elections.
The chief judicial magistrate (CJM) court had issued a warrant against the union minister when she failed to appear before the court on September 29, the date she was to record her statement as an accused.
Stating that since she was a cabinet minister and lower-ranked officials would dither from arresting her, the court had directed that the warrant be executed through the Bhopal SSP. While rejecting the plea of Bharti’s counsel for a review of the order and an interim stay on the execution of warrant for seven days, the court had held that “since the case is 13 years old, proceedings cannot be stayed merely on the wish of either of the parties”.
Bharti, accompanied by state BJP vice president Vijesh Lunawat, reached the court at around 11 am. As CJM Bhubhaskar Yadav was on leave, her counsel Harish Mehta moved an application for an urgent hearing. She was later asked to appear before the court of judicial magistrate first class Ajay Thakur.
Mehta produced documents to establish that she was unable to appear in court on September 29 as she was supposed to attend a Union cabinet meeting. Since the next date for the case was fixed for October 19 and she is to attend another meeting in Delhi, she thought it fit to appear before the court on Monday.
The court granted her bail against a surety of Rs 10,000, deposited by her follower Pradeep Shrivastava, and imposed a fine of Rs 100 on her for not appearing in the court on September 29. The court also cancelled the arrest warrant issued against her.
Uma Bharti said she would not compromise with anybody on the issue of cow, corruption, women and poverty. She accused Digvijaya Singh of having done an injustice to her by filing the defamation case against her alone, as the charges against the Congress leader had been brought out by the entire party, with Kailash Joshi the then president of the state unit.