Kejriwal, Sisodia, 2 others on trial in defamation case

  • Avantika Mehta, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Sep 20, 2014 23:16 IST

A Delhi court Saturday framed notice of charges against former Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, senior lawyer Prashant Bhushan, AAP leader Manish Sisodia and former member of the party Shazia Ilmi in a case filed by senior advocate Amit Sibal, son of former telecom minister, Kapil Sibal.

After the four accused pleaded not guilty to the charges against them, metropolitan magistrate Sunil Kumar Sharma fixed the matter on January 17, 2015 for recording of evidence.

During the hearing, the four accused argued that no notice should be framed because the matter was still pending before the Supreme Court.

The court, however, rejected their submission saying the Supreme Court had in April declined to stay proceedings.

Thereafter, it asked the accused how they pleaded. “Not guilty,” replied all four.

The complaint filed by Amit Sibal in May of last year said that the AAP leaders had made derogatory comments against him to the tune that he was hired as counsel for a well-known telecom company was an act of nepotism, aimed at ensuring that the company gets positive relief from courts in the tax-evasion cases against them.

According to the complaint, Arvind Kejriwal had, in a press conference on May 2013, said, “Kapil Sibal says he will sort out the tax liability on Vodafone and Hutchinson in an outside court settlement. We have learnt that Kapil Sibal’s son is Hutchinson’s lawyer. The question arises whether a portion of `2,000 crore has gone to Sibal.”

On April 15, the Supreme Court had declined to stay the proceedings in the case in the trial court and had said it can only expedite the hearing.

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