A Delhi court on Saturday directed Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal to appear before it next month in a criminal defamation case by DDCA and Chetan Chauhan, while allowing his personal exemption on medical grounds.
Metropolitan Magistrate Abhilash Malhotra asked Kejriwal to appear before the court on March 21 when it would also hear arguments on point of framing of notice.
The court granted bail to suspended BJP MP Kirti Azad, who along with Kejriwal was summoned as accused in the matter, on furnishing a personal bond of Rs 10,000 and a surety of like amount, saying it was a bailable offence.
During the hearing, Advocate Sangram Patnaik, who appeared for Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) and Chauhan, opposed the arguments of Azad’s counsel that the complaint was not maintainable as the Delhi High Court has appointed retired justice Vikramajit Sen as administrator of the cricketing body.
Patnaik contended the plea was maintainable as at the time of filing of the complaint last year, Chauhan was the vice president of DDCA and he has filed the plea as the authorised representative of the cricketing body as well as in his individual capacity.
During the hearing, Kejriwal’s counsel sought his personal exemption from appearance for the day saying that he is in Bengaluru for his medical treatment till February 22 an that his non-appearance was neither deliberate nor intentional.
To this, the magistrate said, “Keeping in view the medical exigencies cited, application is allowed for today only. Arvind Kejriwal is directed to appear in person on next date. Put up for appearance of Kejriwal and consideration on point of framing of notice on March 21.”
The court was also informed that the AAP leader and Azad have received complete set of documents.
The court had on January 30 summoned Kejriwal and Azad, saying their statements prima facie adversely affected the reputation of the cricketing body and its officials.
The plea has claimed that the defamatory statements were made by Kejriwal and Azad, who himself is a member of DDCA, “to remain in the public eye and gain political mileage”.
“In an interview to a news channel, Kejriwal had alleged that apart from financial irregularities, there were other major wrongdoings in DDCA, including a sex racket,” the plea has alleged.
The allegation against Azad was that he endorsed the defamatory allegations made by Kejriwal and claimed he had raised a similar issue in 2007.