NewDelhi/Nagpur: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has withdrawn his plea from the High Court against a trial court decision of sending him to jail in a defamation complaint filed by Union Minister Nitin Gadkari.
A bench of Justices Sanjiv Khanna and Ashutosh Kumar allowed Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) chief Kejriwal to withdraw the case after his counsel pleaded that he does not want to pursue the matter anymore. “The request to withdraw the petition is allowed,” the bench said.
Kejriwal’s counsel Rishikesh Kumar made the submission before the bench in the backdrop of the court’s earlier query whether Kejriwal was still interested in pursuing his case. “I want to withdraw the present petition,” Kejriwal’s counsel told the court.
Advocate Balendu Shekhar, appearing for Gadkari, Minister of Road Transport, agreed with Kejriwal’s counsel’s submission and said he has no objection on the request.
During the last hearing on April 27, Kejriwal had told the high court that he was undecided about pursuing his case and had sought time to decide on the issue.
On April 17, the Supreme Court had stayed Kejriwal’s prosecution in two criminal defamation cases, including the one filed by Gadkari, and also sought a reply from the Centre on the CM’s plea challenging constitutional validity of the penal provisions.
Kejriwal had been summoned as an accused by the court in the defamation complaint in which Gadkari had alleged that he was defamed by the AAP leader who had included his name in the party’s list of ‘India’s most corrupt’.
“The case is about Kejriwal’s allegations against me and if he has any proof about it, he should ask me or show me those documents,” Gadkari had said. Kejriwal was arrested and sent to Tihar Jail under judicial custody on May 21, 2014 after he had refused to furnish bail bond in the case but gave it within a week and was released.
The court had framed defamation charges against Kejriwal after both the parties told it that they have not reached at any settlement in the case. The court had advised Kejriwal to bury the hatchet and amicably settle the issue with Gadkari.
Gadkari had earlier told the court that he was ready to resolve the issue if Kejriwal withdrew his statement. Kejriwal, however, had refused to withdraw his statement and allegations which he had levelled against Gadkari.
Gadkari had also told the court, “I am an honest politician and damage has been caused to my reputation by the defamatory allegation levelled against me by Kejriwal. I don’t have any personal enmity against Kejriwal.”
Kejriwal had pleaded not guilty to the offence and had claimed trial.