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Kejriwal withdraws pleas in HC for quashing two criminal defamation cases

NEW DELHI

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal today withdrew from the Delhi High Court his pleas seeking quashing of separate criminal defamation proceedings initiated against him by a senior advocate and a former aide of Congress leader Sheila Dikshit.

Kejriwal moved the application for withdrawing his petition in the case involving senior advocate Amit Sibal, son of former Union minister Kapil Sibal, as the CM and his deputy Manish Sisodia had settled the matter by apologising before a trial court for making “unfounded allegations” against the lawyer.

In the second case, the AAP chief has already moved the trial court seeking quashing of the criminal defamation complaint filed against him by Dikshit’s then political secretary Pawan Khera on the grounds that the plea was not maintainable as the person affected had not approached the court.

Today, Justice A K Pathak allowed Kejriwal’s advocates Rishikesh Kumar and Mohd Irshad to withdraw both the pleas in both the cases from the high court.

Besides Kejriwal and Sisodia, complainant Amit Sibal had also named former AAP members Prashant Bhushan and Shazia Ilmi as accused in the 2013 case. In April, Ilmi also apologised to Sibal and her apology was accepted by the lawyer.

The lower court on September 20, 2014, had put all the four accused on trial for the charge under section 500 (defamation) of the IPC.

In the other matter, Khera had filed the defamation case over Kejriwal’s alleged remarks against Dikshit during power tariff hike protests in October 2012.

Khera had said that the AAP leader had used objectionable language against the erstwhile Chief Minister Dikshit in a television show.

Kejriwal, in his quashing petition, had questioned Khera’s locus standi to file the complaint and also sought quashing of the January 2013 summons to him and the subsequent proceedings in the matter.

Maintaining that prima facie defamation charges were made out against Kejriwal, the trial court had put him on trial in 2013 after he pleaded not guilty.

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