Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Saturday stayed away from court here in a case filed against him by Sheila Dikshit’s ex-political secretary for his alleged remarks against the former CM during power tariff hike protests of October, 2012.
Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (CMM) Sanjay Bansal also allowed Mr. Kejriwal’s plea for exemption from personal appearance in the case for the day only.
The court fixed the matter for April 5 for recording of evidence in the case.
It had earlier framed defamation charges against Mr. Kejriwal and put him on trial after he pleaded not guilty in the case.
Complainant Pawan Khera, former Officer on Special Duty and Political Secretary to Ms. Dikshit, had filed the case saying Mr. Kejriwal had used “false and filthy” language against the then chief minister in a television show.
While framing the charges, the court said that Mr. Kejriwal had defamed Mr. Khera and he had uttered the defamatory word with an intention to harm his reputation.
“By use of the said word... you defamed complainant Mr. Khera who (was) working as OSD/Political Secretary to Ms. Dikshit. You spoke the said word... intending to harm, or knowing or having reason to believe that such imputations will harm the reputation of complainant Mr. Khera and thus you defamed complainant and thereby you committed offence punishable under Section 500 (defamation) of the IPC and within my cognisance.
“Show cause why you should not be punished for the offence or do you have any defence to make,” the CMM had said.
While pleading not guilty, Mr. Kejriwal had said in court that Mr. Khera was not an aggrieved person and contended that the complaint against him was false.
He had said that Mr. Khera was not a member of Congress party and nor had he disclosed in clear terms his relationship to Ms. Dikshit.
Mr. Kejriwal had also said that there was proof available in the public domain showing that electricity distribution companies were given unexplainable benefits.
The AAP leader, in his plea, said that Mr. Khera had no locus standi to file the case as he had not said anything against the then political secretary. Moreover, only an aggrieved person can file a defamation complaint, he had argued.
Mr. Kejriwal is accused of defaming Ms. Dikshit by making “baseless” allegations against her last year during protests over the power tariff hike.
He opposed the complaint on the grounds that it was filed by Mr. Khera and not by Ms. Dikshit herself.
Although Mr. Kejriwal admitted to the allegations levelled against him, he had argued that if Ms. Dikshit was the one who had been defamed, then she should have filed the case herself.
“Due to politically motivated and mala fide reasons, mischievous and absolutely false and baseless allegations have been intentionally made in a filthy and foul language, through convoluted information, to gain scandalising impact at a platform where the same could not be rebutted, as Dikshit or the office of the (then) CM of Delhi was not represented.
“This shows that the intention was to paint a patently incorrect picture in the eyes of the viewers, general public, thereby causing irreparable harm to the reputation and standing of all, including complainant,” the complaint alleged.
It said that in October, 2012, Mr. Kejriwal had organised several protests against “the power tariff hike in the national capital and accused the then government of stalling Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission’s move to cut power tariff by 23 per cent in 2010”.