In relief to AAP convenor and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, a Delhi court on Monday acquitted him in two defamation cases lodged by Union Transport and Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari and Amit Sibal, son of Congress leader Kapil Sibal. Delhi deputy CM Manish Sisodia, co-accused in the case lodged by Sibal, was also acquitted. The development came after Kejriwal tendered an apology to Gadkari and Sibal on Friday and Sunday respectively.
Besides Kejriwal and Sisodia, former AAP members Prashant Bhushan and Shazia Ilmi were also named as accused in the 2013 case, where the leaders had targetted Amit and Kapil Sibal over the Vodafone tax revision case. The court, however, said the proceedings would continue against Ilmi, who is now with BJP, and Bhushan. Kejriwal and Sisodia apologised for making “unfounded allegations” against Sibal in a letter that was submitted before Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Samar Vishal.
“On 15.05.2013 at a Press Conference at the Constitution Club of India, New Delhi, I made certain statements against you and your father. Now, I have learnt that the allegations I made against you and your father at the press conference were unfounded. I hereby withdraw all my statements and allegations made against you and your father and apologise for the same,” the Delhi CM said. Following the apology, Sibal and the AAP leaders filed a joint application in the court seeking withdrawal of the case.
Gadkari had filed the defamation case against Kejriwal after the CM called the minister one of the most corrupt politicians in the country when his name cropped up in the Purti Group scam. In his letter to Gadkari, Kejriwal expressed his regret for making unverified allegations and asked to “put the incident behind” them “in the spirit of mutual respect”. Following the apology, the two leaders submitted a joint application in a Delhi court seeking withdrawal of the defamation case.