A Mumbai court on Friday issued summons to Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari to remain present before it on April 7. The summons was issued on the basis of Bharatiya Janata Party leader Nitin Gadkari's complaint of defamation against the Congress leader.

Mr Tewari, in a press conference in 2010, had allegedly named Mr Gadkari in the Adarsh scam.

Mr Gadkari has claimed that Mr Tewari is guilty of criminal defamation, which is punishable under section 500 of the Indian Penal Code.

"He had levelled allegations against Mr Gadkari about ownership of a benami flat in Adarsh society. Even the state government-appointed judicial panel's report is out now. Nowhere has Mr Gadkari been mentioned. The court took cognisance of the matter today and issued summons to Mr Tewari," Rameshwar Gite, advocate for Mr Gadkari, told The Hindu.

According to the complaint filed by Mr Gadkari in the metropolitan court last month, Mr Tewari, in a press conference, had made defamatory statements against him way back in November 2010. "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 has alleged.

It has claimed that Mr Tewari was sent a legal notice soon after his utterances in November 2010, asking him to render an unconditional apology, which he had failed to do.