Defamation case: Bailable warrant issued against Kangana Ranaut
A metropolitan magistrate court at Andheri on Monday issued a bailable warrant against actor Kangana Ranaut for failing to appear for hearing on the defamation complaint filed by lyricist Javed Akhtar.
The magistrate court had on February 1 issued summons to Ranaut to appear before the court on Monday. The actor failed to appear in person while her lawyer, advocate Rizwan Siddiquee, appeared on her behalf.
“Ranaut’s lawyer told the court that they wish to challenge the proceedings. However, the lawyer did not file an application seeking exemption for the actor to appear before the court. In the absence of the plea, we move the application seeking non-bailable warrant against the actor,” said advocate Jai Bharadwaj lawyer for Akhtar.
On the application of the complainant, the court issued bailable warrant against the actress and posted the matter for further hearing on March 26.
Siddiquee said, “The said magistrate court has grossly erred in taking cognisance of the matter and issuing summons to my client, without even verifying the Complainant’s four witnesses on oath, as mandated under section 200 of CrPC. As such the entire proceedings including and not limited to the Summons and the bailable warrant issued against my client are legally sought to be challenged, on merits. I shall be soon moving before an appropriate court challenging all actions taken by the learned magistrate so far; and I am quite hopeful that proceedings initiated till date by the magistrate court, would be stayed on merits.”
The court, while considering the application for issuance of warrant, observed, “Though the accused is going to challenge the entire proceedings before the hon’ble high court, as stated by her learned advocate, however, in absence of any orders from high court, her remaining absent shows her conduct. Furthermore, mere intending to challenge the proceedings would not absolve her liability as an accused from attending this court.”
The writer-poet approached the magistrate court in November 2020. On December 3, his statement was recorded by the magistrate under the process of verification of the complaint. Later, the court directed Juhu Police to conduct an inquiry and submit their report on the allegations.
Police in their report has concluded, “There was a meeting between Akhtar and Ranaut in March 2016. In the said meeting Dr Ramesh Agrawal (family doctor of Ranaut, Akhtar and Roshans’) was also present. It is said that Akhtar has never told her that she will commit suicide or she will have to go to jail.”
The police also said that during the investigation they had issued summons to Ranaut on several occasions, but she failed to apprear.
Police, in its report, attached statement of three witnesses — the complainant, the family doctor and a family friend of Akhtar.
In his statement, the doctor, Ramesh Agrawal, has claimed that it was in 2015-16 that he came to know about the problems between Hrithik Roshan and Ranaut. During that time, Agrawal said, Akhtar had asked him to mediate and resolve the dispute between the two since he knew both of them well.
Agrawal claimed that when he asked Ranaut, she agreed to meet Akhtar at his house to discuss the issue between her and Roshan over the alleged fake email controversy. It was in 2016, that Ranaut, her sister and Dr Agrawal had visited Akhtar’s house. The doctor further said that in the meeting, Akhtar had only said, “Aap dono celebrity ho, aap dono ke bich me jo fake email ke bare me vaad hoga uska media me aur public me aapki pratima malin ho jati hain, iss liye aap dono samjhota kar ke vaat mita do. Iss liye aap Hritik Roshan se sorry bolke vaad khatam kar do. (Both of you are celebrities. The dispute between both of you regarding the fake email incident will malign your reputation in media and public. Hence, sort out your differences and apologise to Hrithik Roshan).
Aggarwal said Akhtar had never said things like “you will commit suicide, and you will be sent to prison”.