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HC dismisses AAP leader Ashish Khetan’s plea in defamation case by Bikram Majithia

Besides Khetan, Arvind Kejriwal and Sanjay Singh too are accused in the criminal complaint case filed by former Punjab revenue minister Bikram Singh Majithia.

punjab Updated: Nov 18, 2017 22:28 IST
Surender Sharma
Surender Sharma
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Ashish Khetan,Bikram Majithia,AAP punjab
AAP leader Ashish Khetan had approached the Punjab and haryana high court in August 2017 demanding that Bikram Majithia’s complaint on criminal defamation be quashed.(HT File)

The Punjab and Haryana high court has dismissed Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Ashish Khetan’s plea seeking quashing of proceedings of a defamation case against him by former Punjab revenue minister Bikram Singh Majithia.

The high court found the petition “hopelessly” without merit and dismissed it without even issuing a notice to Majithia.

Khetan had approached the high court in August 2017 demanding that Majithia’s complaint on criminal defamation (filed on May 20, 2016) and the summoning order of November 18, 2016 by additional chief judicial magistrate, Amritsar, be quashed.

Besides Khetan, Delhi chief minister and AAP convenor Arvind Kejriwal and another senior party leader Sanjay Singh too are accused in the criminal complaint case. However, the petition in the high court was filed by Khetan only.

Majithia had complained of defamation stating the trio’s allegations of a “nexus” between him and drug mafia had denigrated his reputation. The proceedings in the case are still underway in the Amritsar court.

To the issue raised by Khetan that the matter was not inquired into before initiating the trial, the high court stated that the magistrate recorded the statement of the complainant and his witnesses, primarily to find out whether or not a prima facie case was made against the accused.

“In the impugned order of summoning, the magistrate has clearly enlisted his opinion that it finds prima facie case for commission (of offence),” the high court bench of justice Fateh Deep Singh said.

Regarding Khaitan’s argument that three different instances of alleged defamatory statements, involving Kejriwal, Sanjay Singh and himself, were clubbed together, the high court said the issue is a matter of evidence which could be gone into by the magistrate at the time of trial and the high court is not supposed to evaluate the evidence on the touchstone of detailed inquiry, which is the trial court’s job.

First Published: Nov 18, 2017 18:45 IST