HC allows Kejriwal to withdraw defamation plea

HC allows Kejriwal to withdraw defamation plea

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The Delhi High Court allowed Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday to withdraw his plea seeking to quash the summons issued in a defamation complaint against him by BJP leader Vijender Gupta.

Justice Manoj Kumar Ohri permitted Kejriwal to withdraw the petition, in which the AAP leader had challenged the July 8 summons issued against him by the trial court.

In the application to withdraw the main petition, Kejriwal's lawyers R Arunadhri Iyer and Mohammad Irshad said the trial of the complaint case was pending before the special court for the trial of cases against MPs and MLAs, established on the directions of the Supreme Court, and that it had to be concluded within a year.

The high court had earlier sought the responses of the National Capital Territory (NCT) and Gupta, the leader of opposition in the Delhi Assembly, to Kejriwal's plea.

The high court had earlier said it prima facie appeared that a trial would be required to decide if the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) chief's re-tweet of Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia's tweet was defamatory in nature.

Kejriwal had claimed that he had not named Gupta in his tweet or re-tweet.

Gupta, in his complaint, had alleged that Kejriwal and Sisodia had maligned his image by accusing him on Twitter of being part of a "conspiracy" to kill the AAP chief.

Kejriwal has claimed that he had neither mentioned Gupta in his tweet nor levelled any allegations against him.

His lawyers, however, have admitted that the AAP chief had re-tweeted Sisodia's tweet, but with his own comment, in which Gupta was not mentioned by name.

Kejriwal, in his plea, has also contended that he had neither made any defamatory comment against Gupta nor mentioned his name and therefore, the offence against him was not made out.

After the chief minister was slapped by a man in May during the campaign for the general election, he had alleged on Twitter that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) wanted to get him killed by his own personal security officer (PSO) in the manner in which former prime minister Indira Gandhi was assassinated.

In response to his comments, Gupta had said Kejriwal was slapped because he had relaxed his security cordon.

To this, Sisodia had tweeted, saying there was a conspiracy to kill Kejriwal and that Gupta was allegedly a part of it.