“After careful consideration of the entire material on record, in my opinion, there is sufficient material to establish a prima facie case against accused (Kejriwal) under section 499/500 (defamation) of the IPC,” Metropolitan Magistrate Gomati Manocha said.
The notice under section 251 of the CrPC (dealing with trial of summons cases by magistrate) against Kejriwal was framed after he refused to heed to the magistrate’s suggestion to amicably resolve the matter with Gadkari. Following this, Kejriwal pleaded not guilty and claimed trial.
The court, however, allowed Kejriwal’s plea seeking exemption from personal appearance till further orders. The exemption was given on the grounds that being the national convener of the AAP, he was required to meet various delegations, attend numerous conferences and meetings.
During the morning session, the court had advised Kejriwal to amicably settle the issue with Gadkari. “Why don’t you both shake hands before the court and finish the matter on an amicable note?” the court had said, adding, “You both are renowned politicians, people look up to you.”
Kejriwal, however, refused to withdraw his statement and and said he had “documentary proof” to justify his allegations.
The court has fixed August 2 for the recording of statements of Gadkari and his witnesses.