A Delhi court on Wednesday granted bail to BJP Vice-President Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, accused in a criminal defamation case filed by former JD(U) leader Sabir Ali over Naqvi’s tweet linking Ali to Indian Mujahideen co-founder Yasin Bhatkal.
After noting that the offence of criminal defamation was a bailable one, the court allowed the BJP leader’s release against a personal bond of Rs.10,000.
Naqvi appeared before Metropolitan Magistrate Akash Jain in pursuance to the summons issued by the court.
Ali was not present for proceedings on Wednesday, without any “suitable explanation regarding his absence.” Upon submissions from Naqvi’s advocate, Ajay Digpaul, that Ali - being the complainant - should have appeared, the court directed the former JD(U) leader to appear before it on the next date of hearing, September 16, or else his complaint would be dismissed for want of prosecution.
The court had earlier summoned Naqvi as accused on May 1, saying there was "prima facie" evidence to proceed against him for the alleged offence of defaming Ali.
In his complaint, Ali said that after being expelled from the JD(U) for making statements in favour of Prime Minister Narendra Modi earlier this year, he had been asked to join the BJP through the outgoing party president Rajnath Singh.
However, he alleged, on March 29 this year, Ali’s membership to the BJP was cancelled following pressure from the party leaders and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh after Naqvi had alleged that he harbored close links with arrested IM terrorist Yasin Bhatkal.
Naqvi’s tweet had been circulated and telecast in India as well as abroad through social media as well as various newspapers and channels, thus defaming him in the eyes of the nation at large.
"Terrorist Bhatkal friend joins BJP. Soon accepting Dawood," Naqvi had tweeted in March early this year.