Kejriwal, five AAP leaders face trial in defamation case

Pertains to DDCA case filed by Jaitley

Kejriwal, five AAP leaders face trial in defamation case
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and five other AAP leaders will face trial in a criminal defamation case filed by Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley over the DDCA controversy. The court framed notices against Kejriwal and other Aam Aadmi Party leaders – Ashutosh, Kumar Vishwas, Sanjay Singh, Raghav Chaddha and Deepak Bajpai – after they pleaded not guilty. The court will hear the case on May 20.

Jaitley filed the criminal case against Kejriwal and others following statements accusing him of being involved in financial irregularities during his tenure at the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA).  A civil defamation suit has also been filed by Jaitley before Delhi High Court in the matter, seeking Rs 10 crore in damages. Jaitley had claimed that the AAP leaders made false accusations against him to score political points and in the process irreversibly harmed his reputation.

The hearing at the court of chief metropolitan magistrate Sumit Dass witnessed chaotic scenes initially over Jaitley’s non-appearance. The accused, including Kejriwal, who were present before the court complained of a  “serious threat”. The judge then asked everyone to leave the courtroom, barring those who were concerned with the case.

In his plea, advocate Rahul Mehra, appearing for Kejriwal, questioned Jaitley’s absence in the court. He contended that in the absence of the complainant, no notice can be framed. “Let not a message go out of this court that this is luxury litigation by the complainant and, therefore, it is going like a fast-track proceeding,” the counsel said.

“It’s a political case. There are many people languishing in jail due to the pendency of cases and trials. Let this trial also proceed in the due course and not on a fast-track basis,” he added. Senior advocate Sidharth Luthra, representing Jaitley, however, countered the plea. He said his client’s presence was not mandatory during the framing of charges, though Jaitley has earlier appeared before the court.
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