Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, it seems, cannot catch a break of late. Two different courts have summoned the CM to appear in connection with two separate defamation cases.
In the matter against Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (CMM) at Patiala House Court, Sumit Das, directed Kejriwal and five others to appear on March 25. The five others accused in the case are Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leaders Kumar Vishwas, Ashutosh, Sanjay Singh, Raghav Chadha, and Deepak Bajpayee.
Jaitley had alleged in December 2015 that the six accused made “false and defamatory” statements in a case involving the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA), thereby damaging his reputation. In a press conference, the CM had alleged that Jaitley, who headed the DDCA for 13 years, had profited from his relationship with the 21st Century Media Private Limited, a sports management firm.
The court also declined to hear any arguments by the six AAP leaders before it put them on trial on charges of defamation. “I am of the considered opinion that no ground is made out for hearing accused persons at the stage of framing of notice. The application is bereft of any merit, mala fide, and filed solely with a view to stall the trial,” the court said.
Jaitley’s criminal defamation case was soon followed by a civil case in the High Court, where he sought damages to the tune of Rs 10 crore.
Barely minutes after CMM Das passed his order, Metropolitan Magistrate (MM) at Tis Hazari Court, Abhilash Malhotra, directed Kejriwal and Kirti Azad, former cricketer and suspended BJP parliamentarian, to appear in the court on February 18 in another defamation case.
DDCA Vice-President Chetan Chauhan, through Advocate Sangram Patnaik, had alleged that Kejriwal and Azad defamed the cricket association by passing “scandalous” remarks. The two had alleged that a DDCA official sought sexual favours from a journalist’s wife in lieu of selecting her son for the cricket team.
“It is prima-facie clear that Kejriwal made such a serious defamatory remark only on the basis of hearsay,” the Tis Hazari court ruled. The MM had observed that hundreds of players were associated with the DDCA and “such a drastic statement and that too from the CM may leave an adverse impression on the minds of cricketers, officials, and public at large, impacting the reputation of the DDCA, its organisational functioning, and the transparency of the selection process.”