A Delhi court Friday issued summons to Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and four other AAP leaders in a defamation case filed by BJP leader Rajeev Babbar, who alleged that they had tarnished the BJP’s reputation by blaming the party for alleged deletion of voter names from electoral rolls.
Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (ACMM) Samar Vishal directed Kejriwal and the others to appear on April 30. Babbar has sought proceedings against Kejriwal, Rajya Sabha member Sushil Kumar Gupta, MLA Manoj Kumar and AAP spokesperson Atishi.
“At the initial stage, the court has to look into the complainant and the statements/evidence of the witnesses and has to believe them. The court has to see whether the impugned material is prima facie defamatory or not and whether the court has sufficient grounds to proceed with the case. The words referred above — if seen in the entire context of things and evidence of the complainant and his witnesses — seem to be defamatory,” read the order by ACMM Vishal.
Rajeev Babbar, the vice-president of BJP’s Delhi unit, claimed that on December 7 last year, several people met him outside the BJP office and accused his party of deleting names of voters from electoral roll.
He claimed two men from the crowd, Naveen Sharma and Dinesh Gupta, showed him a video and a tweet posted by Kejriwal supporting this.
One of the tweets, allegedly written by Kejriwal and handed over as evidence, read, “Not 40k. Total 30 lakh votes deleted. 4 lakh Baniyas, 8 lakh Muslims, 15 lakh Poorvanchalis and 3 lakh rest.”
The complainant further claimed that Atishi and Manoj Kumar, too, addressed a press conference alleging that 30 lakh voters’ names were deleted from the list.
Another press conference by Sushil Kumar making the same allegations was also brought to the court’s notice.
The complainant provided online newspaper links of the concerned press conferences as evidence.
Apart from Babbar’s statement, the court examined the Election Officer (Electoral Roll) who provided the list of registered voters to the court and added that the EC does not have data regarding caste and community of deleted voters.
According to the order, the EC officer told the court that the deletion exercise was done by the Electoral Registration Officer without influence from any political party or private agency.
“These witnesses also proved that the reputation of the complainant was lowered in their estimation… A person cannot be defamed in his own eyes…” the order read.