According to the report of TOI,Arvind Kejriwal will stand trial in a criminal defamation case filed by Union minister Arun Jaitley. Kejriwal becomes the first CM in Delhi’s history to face criminal defamation charges. A Delhi court on Saturday put the CM on trial in a hearing marked by chaos and alleged “death threats.”
Soon after proceedings began, AAP lawyers protested against chief metropolitan magistrate (CMM) Sumit Dass granting Jaitley exemption from personal appearance. Magistrate Dass framed the notice against Kejriwal who was present in court with party colleagues Ashutosh, Kumar Vishwas, Sanjay Singh, Raghav Chaddha and Deepak Bajpai. They pleaded not guilty and preferred trial in the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) defamation case.
The defence counsels sought either acquittal of the AAP leaders or an adjournment on the ground of Jaitley’s non-appearance. Magistrate Dass rejected the plea and said there’s no requirement in law for a complainant to be personally present at the stage of framing of notice. He reminded the CM and his AAP colleagues that the court had fixed Saturday as the date to frame notice, adding that there is no justification for an adjournment. AAP functionary Deepak Bajpai sought exemption from personal appearance because of prior commitments, which the court allowed.
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While the two sides were engaged in heated arguments inside the packed court room, suddenly an advocate raised his voice and threatened the AAP lawyers. Kejriwal and his legal team immediately complained to the court about a “serious security threat” to their life and urged the judge to arrest the lawyer, later identified as Vivek Sharma. “This is a security threat… It is danger to our life,” defence lawyer Rahul Mehra pleaded, after which Magistrate Dass ordered all those not connected with the case to leave. The court directed the lawyer who shouted the threat to submit his identity card. Jaitley’s lawyer Sidharth Luthra and Kejriwal’s counsel Nitya Ramakrishnan intervened and requested both sides to stay calm so the hearing could resume. The court ended the proceeding scheduling the case for May 20 for trial to begin.
On 30 January, the court dismissed Kejriwal’s plea seeking to be heard on framing of notice. Jaitley had filed the complaint alleging that the accused had defamed him in a controversy regarding DDCA when he headed it for over a decade. Jaitley has also filed a civil defamation suit before Delhi high court seeking Rs 10 crore in damages.