As Arvind Kejriwal goes on apology spree, over a dozen other defamation cases against AAP leaders await resolution

Days after apologising to Shiromani Akali Dal leader Bikram Singh Majithia, Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Monday tendered apologies to BJP leader Nitin Gadkari and Congress leader Kapil Sibal's son Amit, in an apparent effort to escape the slew of defamation cases from his political opponents.

Both Gadkari and Sibal accepted the apology, and said they will submit applications in the court to request withdrawal of their respective cases.

File image of Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal. Image courtesy: All India Radio

File image of Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal. Image courtesy: All India Radio

Even after the withdrawal of these cases, Kejriwal and other Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leaders currently face 20-odd civil and criminal defamation cases in various courts in Delhi, Varanasi, Amethi, Punjab, Guwahati, Mumbai and Goa, most of which require personal appearances.

"In tendering an apology to Majithia, and with indications that he would be doing the same in all defamation cases, is Arvind Kejriwal saying that he is no longer a political challenger and is part of status quo? Or is he making a decision not to get trapped into the politics of bullying-by-defamation that will drain his time, money and attention?

While every political observer would have to decide this for themselves, Kejriwal seems to have made up his mind: that he will live to fight another day and to use his political energy to battle vested interests rather than caught into their trap of a draining politics of bullying-by-defamation. The people most upset by this move would be those who thought they could ring-fence him by occupying him in courtroom battles instead of political ones," senior AAP member Atishi Marlena wrote.

Here are some of the defamation cases against the chief minister and his party that are yet to be resolved:

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley

Jaitley filed a Rs 10-crore defamation suit against Kejriwal and AAP leaders Raghav Chadha, Kumar Vishwas, Ashutosh, Sanjay Singh and Deepak Bajpai for accusing him of the irregularities, and has denied all the allegations. A civil defamation case was filed in the Delhi High Court, and a criminal defamation case was filed at a lower court in Delhi. A separate case of defamation was also filed against Kejriwal after remarks that Ram Jethmalani — Kejriwal's former lawyer — made during the trial.

In February, the Delhi High Court directed Kejriwal to wind up the cross examination of Arun Jaitley by 12th of the month.

Subhash Chandra, Rajya Sabha MP

The Delhi High Court in December 2017 exempted Kejriwal from personal appearance before a trial court in a criminal defamation case filed by Rajya Sabha MP and Essel Group Chairman Subhash Chandra.

Chandra had sought Kejriwal's prosecution for allegedly defaming him by levelling false allegations in the wake of demonetisation. Chandra had said in his petition that Kejriwal made "false, fabricated and defamatory allegations" against him while addressing a press conference on 11 November 2016. Chandra sought Kejriwal's prosecution under Section 500 (defamation) of the Indian Penal Code.

Ramesh Bidhuri, BJP MP

Bidhuri had filed a criminal defamation case, alleging that Kejriwal had falsely claimed in a television interview that Bidhuri was not being arrested even though there were serious cases pending against him. In 2016, a court granted exemption from personal appearance to the Delhi chief minister.

Bidhuri told the court that Kejriwal's defamatory statements had maligned his image.

Ankit Bhardwaj, BJP youth leader

Ankit Bhardwaj, a state executive member of Bharatiya Janta Yuva Morcha (BJYM), had filed a criminal defamation petition against Kejriwal and AAP spokesperson Sanjay Singh, claiming he was wrongly projected as the person who had assaulted former minister Kapil Mishra.

The plea said that due to the publication of "false and defamatory" remarks and statements of Kejriwal and Singh, the reputation of Bhardwaj has been tarnished in the minds of party leaders, relatives, friends and public at large, whosoever has seen the news.

The remarks were "deliberately made with a malafide intention" to defame the plaintiff and it was also "re-tweeted by defendant No 2 (Kejriwal) from his Twitter account," it said.

Pawan Khera, former political secretary to Sheila Dikshit

In the first defamation case against Kejriwal, then political secretary to former Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit, filed a defamation suit for alleged “derogatory remarks” in connection with the increase in power tariffs, during protests in 2012.

Khera had earlier sent a legal notice to Kejriwal, asking him to withdraw the remarks he had made against Dikshit (Kejriwal referred to her as a dalal). He alleged that the remarks were intended to "maliciously defame the chief minister and thus all those working in close proximity with her". After Kejriwal refused to withdraw the statements, Khera went ahead with the legal proceedings.

With inputs from agencies


Updated Date: Mar 20, 2018 10:18 AM

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