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Thursday, September 16, 2021

Defamation suit against BJP MLA: HC declines to pass injunction order on Delhi transport minister’s appeal

Delhi Transport Minister Kailash Gahlot in his defamation suit accused BJP MLA Vijender Gupta of making scandalous allegations against him with regard to alleged irregularities in purchase and maintenance of buses by the Delhi Transport Corporation.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi |
September 6, 2021 8:17:57 pm
Gahlot alleged that Gupta circulated defamatory material on social media alleging corruption and scam by him in the purchase of 1,000 low-floor buses. (File photo)

The Delhi High Court Monday declined to grant interim relief to Delhi Transport Minister Kailash Gahlot in the appeal filed by him against an order passed by a single bench last month, refusing to grant any ex-parte injunction against BJP MLA Vijender Gupta.

Gahlot in his defamation suit accused Gupta of making scandalous allegations against him with regard to alleged irregularities in purchase and maintenance of buses by the Delhi Transport Corporation.

“You don’t have to be so sensitive about it,” the division bench of Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Jasmeet Singh told Gahlot and asked him and Gupta not to seek any adjournment on September 20 when the single bench will again take up the suit for hearing.

Gahlot, in the suit pending before the single bench, has sought Rs 5 crore as damages from Gupta for allegedly making “reckless and malafide remarks” against him. Besides seeking an injunction order, Gahlot has also sought removal of “defamatory content” posted against him on Twitter and Facebook. He alleged that Gupta circulated defamatory material on social media alleging corruption and scam by him in the purchase of 1,000 low-floor buses.

Gupta’s counsel, senior advocate Ranjit Kumar, Monday gave an oral assurance before the division bench that he will not post any tweet or issue any press statement on the issue till September 20. The court also questioned Gupta for issuing an incorrect statement last week that all contentions raised by Gahlot have been rejected by the High Court.

Senior advocate Rajiv Nayar, representing Gahlot, argued that it was condemnable that Gupta was venting his grievances outside the House. “He raised the issue inside the House and it was answered in the House. The inquiry committee constituted by Lt-Governor has given a clean chit,” he submitted.

However, Gupta’s counsel submitted that it was “my duty to place all facts in the public domain and that the central government has recommended registration of a preliminary enquiry by CBI in the matter”.

Listing the suit for hearing on September 20, the single bench had said last month, “In the present case, prima facie, no personal allegations appear to have been specifically made against the plaintiff except to the extent of saying that the entire transaction appears to be a ‘scam’. At this stage, therefore, no ex-parte injunction is called for.”

When Gupta’s counsel Monday submitted that Gahlot in his suit had suppressed information that the entire contract on procurement of buses was kept in abeyance by the government, the court said it did not reflect any sense of guilt on their part.

“In any event, they did not want to rush through it. You raised an issue in the House and the matter was sent to L-G. He constitutes a committee and in the meantime, they say ‘okay we are keeping this in abeyance’. They could have otherwise rushed and awarded the contract,” observed the division bench.

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