A Delhi court on Tuesday framed criminal defamation charges against ex-Delhi BJP chief Vijender Gupta in a complaint filed by Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit.

“...charge under section 500 IPC (defamation) is framed against the accused (Gupta) to which he pleads not guilty and claims trial,” Metropolitan Magistrate Namrita Aggarwal said.

The court directed Ms. Diskhit to appear before it on October 28 to record her evidence against Mr. Gupta.

The order of the court came on a complaint filed by Ms.Diskhit against Mr.Gupta alleging that the BJP leader had used “uncivilised” language against her in the run up to the MCD polls last year while accusing her of helping and conniving with power companies.

The court had on July 1 found that prima facie an offence of defamation is made out against Mr. Gupta.

In the court on Tuesday, Mr. Gupta pleaded not guilty to the charge and said, “I am feeling humiliated. If you (court) go through the interview, nowhere have I used any defamatory word against the Chief Minister. If I am guilty, put me in jail right away.”

Meanwhile, the counsel for Ms. Diskhit moved an exemption application which was opposed by Mr. Gupta’s counsel Ajay Burman saying the date of hearing was already in her knowledge and, therefore, there was no ground for her to seek exemption.

“I am being harassed as the Chief Minister gets exemption whenever she wants without citing proper reasons while I have to give minor details for seeking an exemption,” Mr. Gupta said.

The BJP leader said when he seeks exemption from appearance, he is acted against while the CM is allowed non-appearance. To this, the court assured him that coercive action would also be taken against Ms. Dikshit if she fails to appear on the next date of hearing.

“As on next date her evidence is to be recorded. Therefore, whenever the court requires attendance of either the accused or the complainant, they will have to come before it. That court does not favour anyone,” the judge said.

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