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Delhi High Court Stays Trial Court Proceedings Summoning Four BJP Leaders In Criminal Defamation Case By Delhi Jal Board

Nupur Thapliyal
8 Dec 2021 7:08 AM GMT
Delhi High Court Stays Trial Court Proceedings Summoning Four BJP Leaders In Criminal Defamation Case By Delhi Jal Board
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The Delhi High Court on Wednesday stayed the trial court proceedings as well as the order which had summoned four BJP leaders including its Delhi Unit President Adesh Gupta in a criminal defamation complaint filed by Delhi Jal Board and its Vice Chairman Raghav Chadha. The case pertains to allegations levelled against the Board over scam of Rs. 26,000 crores.Justice Manoj Kumar Ohri...

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The Delhi High Court on Wednesday stayed the trial court proceedings as well as the order which had summoned four BJP leaders including its Delhi Unit President Adesh Gupta in a criminal defamation complaint filed by Delhi Jal Board and its Vice Chairman Raghav Chadha. 

The case pertains to allegations levelled against the Board over scam of Rs. 26,000 crores.

Justice Manoj Kumar Ohri passed the order while dealing with a plea filed by Ramvir Singh Biduri, Leader of Opposition in the Delhi Legislative Assembly and Senior leader of the Bhartiya Janata Party, who was also amongst the persons who were summoned by the Trial Court.

The plea sought quashing of the summoning order passed by a city Court. The plea was moved through Advocates Neeraj and Satya Ranjan Swain.

Senior Advocates R. Venkatramani and Ajay Burman, represented the Petitioner in the matter.

The plea challenged a summoning order dated November 18 passed by Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Dharmender Singh of the Rouse Avenue Court who was prima facie satisfied that there were sufficient grounds for summoning the accused persons qua offence punishable u/s 500 r/w Sec.34 of IPC.

Those summoned included Adesh Gupta; Ramvir Singh Bidhuri, Vijender Gupta, an MLA from Rohini Constituency and Harish Khurana, spokesperson and Incharge of BJP, Delhi Media Relations.

The plea also sought quashing of the the Criminal Complaint registered under sec. 500 read with sec. 34 of the Indian Penal Code.

"That the Petitioner being a Leader of Opposition has been at the fore front of exposing irregularities in the working of Government of NCT of Delhi which is essentially the job of the opposition party in the democracy. This process is part of checks and balances in a democratic set-up," the plea read.

The plea also stated that from the year 2015-16 till date, various crores were given by the Delhi Government to the Delhi Jal Board in the form of Loans, Grants and Extra Budgetary Borrowings. However, the plea adds that the Delhi Jal Board's account is not audited or accounted till the present date.

About The Controversy

The complainants had alleged that the accused persons, in furtherance of their common intention, indulged in a malicious campaign to tarnish the reputation of the Delhi Jal Board as well as Raghav Chadha.

It was the case of the complainants that in January this year, a Press Conference was held by Adesh Gupta, Ramvir Singh and Harish Khurana wherein allegations were leveled that the complainants had committed the scam of Rs.26,000 crore and referred to the Delhi Jal Board as "Dalali Jal Board".

According to the complainants, the respondents had also made defamatory statements on social media including Facebook, Twitter and in print media and that the link of Press Conference was widely shared by the official page of BJP, Delhi on Twitter.

Furthermore, it was also alleged that another Press Conference was held in the same month by Ramvir Singh and Vijender Gupta in which defamatory statements were again made against complainants.

The Trial Court had therefore said "In the present case, respondents held two Press Conferences, made tweets which were conveyed to public through social media, print media and visible representation and words/ statements which were spoken/made in said Press Conferences and later published in print and social media and represented by way of large boards mounted across the Delhi clearly show that allegations of corruption have been levelled against complainants and as per testimony of CW1 and CW3 made on oath, these allegations are false and concocted and have been made only to defame the complainants and to gain political mileage."

Case Title: RAMVIR SINGH BIDURI v. DELHI JAL BOARD & ORS. 

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