The saying that there are no permanent friends or foes in politics once again came true when former chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal withdrew a decade-old criminal defamation case against former Punjab chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh on Saturday.
Dhumal took away the case after Amarinder Singh blamed the media for misquoting his speech and expressed regret for causing hurt in the court of chief judicial magistrate.
“Dhumal and I have shared a cordial relationship. In the course of my speech in Hamirpur on January 18, 2003, I did not attack. Dhumal personally, though I criticised his government,” said Amarinder Singh in the court of chief judicial magistrate Jyotsana Dadwal.
Amarinder blamed the media for misquoting him in the newspaper. “Unfortunately, the speech was incorrectly reported in some newspapers. I did not level any personal allegation against Dhumal,” he said, adding, “Allegations against Dhumal attributed to me in some of the newspapers are unfounded and were not made by me.”
“I regret the hurt caused to Dhumal by incorrect reporting in the press,” he said.
“There was some confusion created by the media. We both sat down together and decided not to continue the case,” said Amarinder, who was accompanied by his counsel RS Cheema, after Dhumal withdrew the case.
A few weeks after public rhetoric of Congress leaders, on January 25, Dhumal had served legal notices on the then All-Indian Congress Committee general secretary, Motilal Vohra, and the then AICC spokesman, Anand Sharma.
Dhumal had asked the two Congress leaders to tender unqualified apologies within 48 hours of the receipt of the notices. Both Sharma and Vohra had also released the list of the properties allegedly owned by Dhumal and his relatives.
It was in 2003 after the debacle of the BJP that former chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal had filed a complaint against Amarinder Singh, Vohra and Sharma.
Dhumal had alleged that during the election meeting in his home town on January 18, 2003, Amarinder Singh had levelled allegations regarding the property owned by him and his relatives.
Dhumal at that time had denied the charges saying that on the day he was appointed chief minister (April 5, 1998), he had submitted a detailed list of property and assets owned by him and his family members to the speaker of the Himachal assembly.
“Following the regret expressed by Amarinder Singh, I am withdrawing the case, but will pursue the case against Sharma and Vohra,” said Dhumal, who appeared in the court along with his counsel said Satya Pal Jain. The court has fixed the next date of hearing on September 28.