A day after Kishor Chikhaliya, the president of Morbi district panchayat, alleged that Congress leaders Hardik Patel and Lalit Kagathara had “sold ticket to Jayanti Jeraj’ for the Morbi Assembly constituency bypoll, Hardik served a notice on Chikhaliya demanding the latter apologise or be prepared to face criminal civil proceedings for defamation.
Hardik, the working president of Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee (GPCC), served a notice on the Morbi leader asking the latter to produce within 10 days evidence corroborating his allegations of financial dealings in allotment of party ticket or apologise publicly. Hardik threatened to file a case of criminal defamation and also seek damages if Chikhaliya did not meet either of his demands within 10 days.
“Before I file a complaint of criminal defamation and file a suit for damages against defamation, I am giving you an opportunity to produce, within 10 days of the receipt of this notice, evidence substantiating allegations you have levelled. If you do not have evidence supporting allegations you have levelled, you may write to my client within 10 days to withdraw your allegations and shall apologise to my client. If my client doesn’t receive a letter withdrawing allegations with an apology, my client will be compelled to file a complaint of criminal defamation and a suite for seeking damages against defamation,” the notice served by Hardik’s lawyer Anand Yagnik stated.
While talking to mediapersons in Morbi on Thursday, Chikhaliya had alleged that Hardik and Kagathara had sold ticket to Jayantilal, a Congress leader who has lost Assembly elections five times, whereas his demand for the party’s mandate to contest the November 3 bypoll was overlooked. Chikhaliya had made the comments hours after he quit Congress and defected to the BJP. His move had come two days after Jayantilal pipped him in the race to Congress ticket two days ago.
The notice also quoted Chikhaliya’s media statement that his allegations didn’t need to be substantiated. “Mediana anya ek savalna javabma aap janavi rahya chho ke, “aa to ghanu sabit j chee bhai aamama sabit karvanu na hoy mitra (In response to another media query, you are responding, ‘Much of this has already been proven, my brother. This doesn’t require to be proven),” the notice quoted, adding this shows Chikhaliya knew seriousness of what he was talking but behaved evasively when asked for evidence.
“When you were asked to provide evidence and prove the alleged financial transaction, you gave evasive answer instead of producing evidence and proving your case. This proves that you are aware of the seriousness of allegations you levelled against my client and the existence of any evidence to that effect. Instead of proving the allegations after levelling them, you sought to steer clear of the subject,” the notice reads.
Kagathara, who is sitting Congress MLA from Tankara Assembly constituency in Morbi district and also the president of Congress’ Morbi district unit, too had termed the allegations as baseless and dismissed them as an attempt to malign their image.
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