A local court on Monday granted bail to Union Minister of Information and Broadcasting Manish Tewari on the personal bond of Rs 10,000 in a defamation complaint filed by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Nitin Gadkari. Mr Tewari, who was present before the court, sought bail on grounds of ill health.

The court had issued a process against Mr Tewari during the last hearing on March 7. It will now hear the matter again on July 7.

After Mr Gadkari's lawyer sought a date from the court in the near future, Mr Tewari opposed it. He said he was suffering from heart ailment and had to undergo a heart surgery, due to which he will not be able to appear in the court on any date before July. On hearing his plea, the court posted the matter for next hearing on July 7.

"We have filed a defamation complaint against him. If found guilty under section 500 of the Indian Penal Code, Mr Tewari may face imprisonment of up to two years," Rameshwar Gite, advocate appearing for Mr Gadkari, said.

In a private complaint filed before the Esplanade court here, Mr Gadkari had alleged that Mr Tewari had defamed him in a press conference in 2010 by naming him in the Adarsh scam.

Mr Gadkari claimed that his name had not been mentioned in any of the inquiries conducted by the state government-appointed committee or the Central Bureau of Investigation.

"I say that the Accused has uttered defamatory falsehoods against the Complainant maliciously and recklessly knowing the same to be false. I say that the imputation against the Complainant has not been substantiated by an iota of evidence. I say that they are the unfounded reckless assertions of a beleaguered spokesperson of a ruling party discredited by the several corrupt activities of its members and a shoddy attempt at salvaging the reputation of the ruling party by favouring leading political Opponents with the same taint as afflicts the former," the BJP leader's complaint alleged.

Mr Gadkari said that Mr Tewari was sent a legal notice in November 2010 seeking an unconditional apology for his utterances, but the Congress leader had failed to do so.

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