Former Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal was on Monday directed by a court in New Delhi to “positively appear” before it on May 21 in connection with a criminal defamation complaint filed against him by BJP leader Nitin Gadkari.

The court’s observation came after Mr. Kejriwal, who was summoned for Monday as an accused, did not appear before it on the ground that he was busy in campaigning for the Lok Sabha elections.

“The accused (Mr. Kejriwal) is directed to positively appear before the court on May 21,” Metropolitan Magistrate Gomati Manocha said, while allowing the plea filed by Mr. Kejriwal’s lawyer seeking exemption from personal appearance for the day for the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader.

During the hearing, the counsel appearing for Mr. Gadkari, opposed the plea filed by Mr. Kejriwal’s counsel saying the AAP leader should have appeared before the court on Monday.

The court, however, posted the matter for May 21.

The court, on February 28, had summoned Mr. Kejriwal as an accused in the criminal defamation complaint observing that statements allegedly made by the AAP leader have the effect of “harming the reputation” of the complainant.

The summon was issued against Mr. Kejriwal on a complaint in which Mr. Gadkari had alleged that he was defamed by Mr. Kejriwal, who had included his name in the party’s list of “India’s most corrupt”.

Former BJP president Mr. Gadkari had said on January 31, 2014, that Mr. Kejriwal had issued a list of alleged “India’s most corrupt” in which he had named various politicians, including him.

On January 31, Mr. Kejriwal had accused several politicians of being “corrupt” and had said AAP will field candidates against them in coming Lok Sabha polls.

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