Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal was on Saturday directed to appear on March 21 before court, which granted him exemption from personal appearance for the day, in a criminal defamation complaint filed by DDCA and Chetan Chauhan.
Metropolitan magistrate Abhilash Malhotra allowed Kejriwal’s plea for exemption for the day as he is in Bengaluru for treatment and would return on February 22.
Kejriwal said in his application that his non-appearance was neither deliberate nor intentional.
The court also granted bail to suspended BJP MP Kirti Azad, who along with Kejriwal was summoned as accused in the matter, on furnishing a personal bond of Rs 10,000 and surety of like amount.
During the hearing, Azad’s counsel argued that the complaint was not maintainable as the Delhi high court has appointed justice Vikramajit Sen as administrator of the cricketing body.
Advocate Sangram Patnaik, who appeared for the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) and Chauhan, opposed it and argued that the plea was maintainable as at the time of filing of the complaint, Chauhan was the vice-president of the cricket body and he has also filed the plea in his individual capacity.
The court had on January 30 summoned Kejriwal and Azad, saying their statements prima facie adversely affected the reputation of the cricketing body and its officials.
The complaint has claimed that the defamatory statements were made by Kejriwal and Azad, who himself is a member of DDCA, “to remain in the public eye and gain political mileage”.
“In an interview to a news channel, Kejriwal had alleged that apart from financial irregularities, there were other major wrongdoings in DDCA, including a sex racket,” the plea has alleged.
While summoning Kejriwal, the magistrate had said it was prima facie clear from records that he made the defamatory imputation with a knowledge that it may harm the reputation of DDCA and its officials.
The court had also noted that the statement was broadcast not only on news channel, but also widely published in all national dailies and Internet.
The allegation against Azad was that he endorsed the defamatory allegations made by Kejriwal and claimed he had raised a similar issue in 2007.
The court had on January 28 reserved its order on the plea after hearing arguments of the complainant’s counsel on pre-summoning evidence.
The plea alleged that Kejriwal had made “scandalous” remarks against DDCA on television due to which the cricketing body and Chauhan have suffered irreparable loss in the eyes of the public. It has claimed Kejriwal’s “false” statements were immediately endorsed and repeated by Azad.
The court had earlier recorded Chauhan’s statement during pre-summoning evidence in which he said his image as well as that of DDCA’s had been sullied in the eyes of the public.