A Delhi court on Saturday imposed a fine of Rs 2,500 each on former Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and AAP leader Manish Sisodia for their failure to appear before it in connection with a criminal defamation case. The complaint in the case had been filed by Union Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal’s son Amit Sibal.
Metropolitan Magistrate Sunil Kumar Sharma imposed the cost on Kejriwal and Sisodia, while accepting their pleas seeking exemption from personal appearance for the day only.
Kejriwal’s counsel told court that he was busy campaigning for the Lok Sabha elections in Bangalore. Sisodia, the counsel said, had to rush to Amethi, Uttar Pradesh, as AAP leader Kumar Vishwas and other members of the party had sustained injuries after being attacked.
The court also granted bail to AAP leaders Prashant Bhushan and Shazia Ilmi, who had appeared before it, on an undertaking that they would appear before it on every date of hearing. The court has now fixed the matter for April 19.
The court had on July 24, 2013, summoned Kejriwal, Sisodia, Bhushan and Ilmi regarding the complaint filed by Amit Sibal. The complaint was filed against AAP leaders’ claims that Amit had taken advantage of his father’s position to represent a telecom company in court cases.
During the hearing, Bhushan told the court that the matter should be fixed for hearing after April 9 as the Supreme Court too was scheduled to hear the plea filed by Amit on that day.
The apex court on February 7 had issued notices to the four AAP leaders on Amit’s plea and stayed the Delhi High Court’s order granting exemption to Kejriwal and others from personal appearance before the trial court.
Advocate Mohit Mathur, the counsel for Amit, opposed contentions of Bhushan and defence counsel Rahul Mehra saying “we cannot keep waiting”.
Mathur also opposed the grounds taken by Kejriwal and Sisodia for seeking exemption, saying nobody is above the law and they should have appeared before the court.
Meanwhile, Mehra argued that they had sought time only till April 9 so that the apex court could decide on the issue. The AAP leaders were “not running away”, Mehra told court. “Let us be before the Supreme Court on April 9. I am just asking for time till April 9,” Mehra said.
The defence counsel also requested the court for the release of Bhushan and Ilmi should be released on an undertaking and they would not furnish bail bonds as the AAP had decided not to furnish it in courts to secure bail.
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