New Delhi, Nov 17 (IANS) A Delhi court Saturday summoned Congress leader Digvijaya Singh in a defamation case filed by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) chief Nitin Gadkari.
"Digvijaya Singh has been summoned to face trial for offences under sections 499 and 500 of the Indian Penal Code for defamation. He has been summoned for Dec 21," Metropolitan Magistrate Sudesh Kumar said.
The court, after perusing prima facie evidence, said: "In view of the testimony of all the three witnesses, including the complainant (Gadkari) and other evidence produced on record as discussed herein above, the impugned statements of the accused apparently have the effect of harming the reputation of complainant and lowering the esteem of the complainant in the eyes of others."
"Prima facie, I am satisfied that there is sufficient material on record to proceed against the accused for the offence under section 499 (defamation) and 500 (punishment for defamation) of IPC," said the court while issuing summons to Singh for Dec 21.
After Gadkari lodged the defamation complaint Oct 1, the court Oct 16 reserved the order to summon the Congress leader.
Gadkari in his complaint said the Congress leader dragged his name into alleged irregularities in the allocation of coal blocks. The BJP leader recorded his statement in the court that he was "not responsible for any coal block allocation to anybody".
Gadkari alleged that Digvijaya Singh made false, baseless, scandalous, fabricated and defamatory remarks against him.
The Congress leader had accused Gadkari of having business links with his party MP Ajay Sancheti, who allegedly pocketed a huge amount of money in the coal block allocations.
However, Gadkari, in his statement recorded before the court, denied having any business ties with Sancheti and sought initiation of defamation proceedings against Digvijaya Singh.