New Delhi: A Delhi court on Tuesday refused to discharge Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot in a criminal defamation complaint by Union Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, saying that his request held no merit.
The case pertains to alleged “misleading statements” made by Gehlot in connection with the Sanjivani Credit Cooperative Society scam in Rajasthan.
On Gehlot’s application seeking a discharge, citing Shekhawat’s absence twice before court without a justifiable cause, Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Harjeet Singh Jaspal of Rouse Avenue Court said that on the days in question, the matter was fixed for supply of documents and scrutiny.
“The presence of the complainant on those days was quite unnecessary, especially considering that the counsel for the complainant was very much present before the court,” he said.
He further said that he finds no merit in the said arguments put forth by counsel for the accused. “Ergo, in the light of the aforesaid discussion, the application at hand stands dismissed,” he added.
Shekhawat had filed the defamation case against Gehlot in March this year, stating that an investigation was initiated into the Sanjivani case but his name was not mentioned anywhere, and demanded the prosecution of Gehlot for criminal defamation under the relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
He also demanded appropriate financial compensation for the loss of his reputation. Gehlot had said after a budget review meeting at the state secretariat on February 21 that the entire Shekhawat family, including his parents and wife, were involved in the Sanjeevani scam.
He had also welcomed the filing of the defamation case, saying: “At least the case will move forward on this pretext.