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Sheila,Khurana bury the hatchet

Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit and former Delhi Bharatiya Janata Party chief Madan Lal Khurana have decided to bury the hatchet in a defamation case pending for over six years in the Delhi High Court.

Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit and former Delhi Bharatiya Janata Party chief Madan Lal Khurana have decided to bury the hatchet in a defamation case pending for over six years in the Delhi High Court.

Lawyers from both sides have exchanged proposals for the settlement of the case and only the “nitty-gritties” need to be ironed out.

A Division Bench of Delhi High Court led by Justice Vikramjit Sen on Monday adjourned hearing of the defamation case till November 11. 

The case had been lingering in High Court since September 2003,when Dikshit slapped defamation charges against Khurana and sought a “symbolic” sum of Rs 101 as damages.

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Dikshit had taken offence at Khurana’s allegation that she had received Rs 15 crore from private power companies for the Assembly election campaign in return for the release of Central funds.

Dikshit is represented by advocate Viraj R Datar and Khurana’s legal representative is senior advocate H S Phoolka. On Monday,Datar was noncommittal. “We are looking at a resolution in the matter. It is pending before the mediator. The court has adjourned the matter today.

“If only both of them (Sheila and Khurana) sit face to face,the matter will be resolved in no time. But they are both busy with their engagements,that’s why it is taking a little longer to smoothen out,” said a Delhi High Court source who preferred to remain anonymous owing to the confidentiality of the mediation process.

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Khurana had accused her government of wrongly sanctioning Rs 105 crore out of a Central grant of Rs 500 crore meant to improve the power situation in the National Capital. He had written to then deputy prime minister L K Advani for an independent inquiry into the matter.

Justice T S Thakur,who heard the defamation case in the High Court,had directed Khurana to produce evidence to justify his allegations.

Khurana promptly challenged the judicial decision before a Division Bench of the High Court,which decided it was best for the leaders reach an out-of-court settlement through mediation instead of the hammer-and-tongs approach synonymous with “adversarial litigation” in courtrooms.

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The Bench led by then Chief Justice M K Sharma appointed senior advocate J P Sengh as mediator to resolve the issue on July 31,2007. “A change of a word here or there in the draft is all that is required to reach final agreement,” the source said.

First published on: 25-08-2009 at 00:36 IST
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