After securing bail, local bodies and medical education minister Anil Joshi on Tuesday attended the local court hearing of two cases of defamation and another of damage to private property here.
The court of judicial magistrate, first class (JMIC), PS Gohtra clubbed the cases and set the next hearing on June 11. There was elaborate security at the complex. Joshi, through his counsel, Amandeep Singh, sought exemption from personal appearance in the cases. The court gave him only three occasions to use it.
On May 13, district and sessions judge Gurbir Singh had granted Joshi bail in the three cases. On May 3, non-bailable warrants were out against him over his failing to appear in court repeatedly after December 2013.
On Tuesday, the JMIC also imposed a combined fine of Rs. 10,000 on complainants Sandeep Gorsi and Vineet Mahajan, both l awyers, for their f ailing to re ply on the permanent exemption Joshi had sought. Gorsi, who was present, agreed to submit the fine.
He submitted that co-complainant Mahajan could not appear because he was still in hospital after the assault on him on May 10. On May 9, Gorsi also had an attempt to murder case slapped on him, and had to go into hiding until co-accused Gurinder Singh Rishi, a Congress councillor, and he secured interim bail from the Punjab and Haryana high court.
Gorsi and Mahajan then accused Joshi of going for revenge for their dragging him to court.
One of the accused in the Mahajan assault case, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) councillor PS Ratoul, is a confidant of Joshi. The lawyers had filed separate defamation cases when in response to their “dual vote” case against Joshi and his relatives, the minister had called them “blackmailers” in public. The third case is of trespass and damage to Mahajan’s marriage palace.
‘DUAL VOTE’ HEARING ALSO ON JUNE 11
On June 11, incidentally, the “dual vote” case against Joshi will also be heard in the court of chief judicial magistrate (CJM) Yukti Goel. On May 9 in this case, bailable warrants were issued against his wife, mother, and six other relatives as well. The family has skipped every hearing since the first on April 9.
INNOCENT, SAYS JOSHI
Outside the court, Joshi told the media he was innocent until pronounced guilty. “These are only complaints being heard in court. I have full faith in the judiciary,” he added.
He had resigned from the state cabinet after highprofile BJP candidate Arun Jaitley had lost the Lok Sabha contest in Amritsar on his watch. However, his resignation papers remain with state BJP president Kamal Sharma, and there’s no decision on the same yet.