Delhi LG sues AAP, its five leaders for defamation, seeks 2 crore in damages

Published on Sep 22, 2022 11:52 PM IST

Seeking damages to the tune of ₹2 crore, the Delhi LG told the court that the party [AAP], with a carefully planned motive, had made these allegations to divert the people’s attention from the action being taken by the law enforcement agencies against its senior leaders.

Saxena urged the Delhi high court on Thursday that the AAP leaders should be ordered to delete their “false and libellous” posts or tweets or videos circulated and issued on social media. (Twitter photo)
Saxena urged the Delhi high court on Thursday that the AAP leaders should be ordered to delete their “false and libellous” posts or tweets or videos circulated and issued on social media. (Twitter photo)

Delhi lieutenant governor (LG) Vinay Saxena on Thursday pressed civil defamation charges against the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and five of its leaders over their alleged accusations that he was involved in a scam during his previous tenure as the Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) chairman.

Saxena urged the Delhi high court on Thursday that the AAP leaders should be ordered to delete their “false and libellous” posts or tweets or videos circulated and issued on social media in which they have alleged that Saxena’s daughter was given a contract of designing a Khadi lounge in Mumbai in violation of the rules.

Seeking damages to the tune of 2 crore, the Delhi LG told the court that the party [AAP], with a carefully planned motive, had made these allegations to divert the people’s attention from the action being taken by the law enforcement agencies against its senior leaders.

The LG had filed a petition in the high court on September 17 through advocates Bani Dikshit and Uddhav Khanna against the AAP and its leaders Atishi Singh, Saurabh Bharadwaj, Durgesh Pathak, Sanjay Singh, and Jasmine Shah who is chairman of the Dialogue and Development Commission. The case was taken up for hearing on Thursday.

Rejecting the allegations by the AAp leaders, Saxena submitted before the high court that his daughter had assisted in designing the lounge on a “pro bono basis” and did not charge a penny for her services.

“The Khadi lounge in Mumbai was set up in 2017….by an upcoming designer Shivangi Saxena, free of cost…So admittedly it’s free of cost…,” senior advocate Mahesh Jethmalani, representing Saxena, told justice Amit Bansal.

Senior advocates Rajiv Nayyar and Sandeep Sethi, who appeared for the AAP and its leaders, argued that one of the statements was that during Saxena’s tenure as KVIC chairman, his daughter was given a contract of Khadi which was against the rules, and added that “it was a statement of fact and no one has denied it”.

Urging the court to not pass an interim injunction at this stage, the counsels requested that the matter be decided at the stage of trial whether there is any truth in the allegations made or not.

Regarding certain allegations and tweets, Nayar said he would put it to the party to take them down but not all.

“They can say that this is hearsay, but the fact is two people have gone on record to say that this happened,” Sethi said, adding that the principles laid down by the courts are that public functionaries must be open to criticism.

Opposing the petition, the counsel AAP and its leaders said that they have all rights to raise questions on the alleged corruption in which an FIR was lodged and two people were arrested.

He further claimed that Saxena admits to awarding the contract of Khadi lounge to his daughter which was prohibited under the rules and this amounts to corruption.

When the judge asked how it amounts to corruption when no money was taken, Sethi said anything done in violation of rules is corruption.

Jethmalani argued that there was nothing to substantiate the allegations and even the documents were forged and fabricated and the content was based on hearsay.

“So what these people have done is that they used forged documents to say that the demonetised currency belonged to me. They have made the allegations in press conferences and made hashtags day in and day out. This is a case of ‘ulta chor kotwal ko dante’,” Jethmalani argued, adding that all the statements continue to remain in the public domain.

Earlier, the L-G had sent a legal notice to AAP and its leaders asking them to issue a press release “directing all members of the party and all persons associated with it, whether directly or indirectly, to cease and desist from spreading and circulating false, defamatory, malicious and unsubstantiated statements”.

However, AAP MP Sanjay tore the defamation notice and rejected the charges by LG.

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    Reports from the Delhi High Court and stories on legal developments in the city. Avid mountain lover, cooking and playing with birds 🐦 when not at work

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