A Delhi court Friday summoned Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and others in a defamation case filed by the BJP over his comments on deletion of voters' names from the rolls in the national capital.
Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Samar Vishal directed Mr Kejriwal, Rajya Sabha member Sushil Kumar Gupta, MLA Manoj Kumar and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) spokesperson Atishi Marlena to appear before the court on April 30.
BJP leader Rajeev Babbar, who moved the petition on behalf of the party's Delhi unit, has sought proceedings against them for harming the reputation of BJP by blaming it for the deletion of the names of "voters" from the electoral rolls in Delhi.
"Allegations of the respondents (Arvind Kejriwal and others) are prima facie defamatory and refers to complainant Bhartiya Janta Party," the court said.
"The inquiry as contemplated under section 202 of the Code of Criminal Procedure has been duly conducted by examining the authorised representative of complainant and his witnesses to arrive at the conclusion for this stage of this case. Therefore in view of the aforesaid discussion there exists sufficient grounds to proceed against all the respondents," it said.
The court had earlier taken cognisance of the defamation complaint filed against Mr Kejriwal and others by Mr Babbar, which alleged that they had made certain "deliberate and malafide" defamatory statements against the BJP.
"All the accused made accusations against BJP in a calculated manner with the sole intention to portray a negative image of BJP in relation to the voters belonging to certain sections of society viz. Bania, Poorvanchalis, Muslims etc. The reputation of the complainant has been damaged beyond repair," Mr Babbar said.
He claimed the AAP leaders had, during a press conference held in December last year, alleged that on the directions of BJP, names of 30 lakh voters from Bania, Poorvanchali and Muslim community had been deleted by the Election Commission of India.
The allegation was also tweeted by Mr Kejriwal.
"It is stated that adding or deleting the names of voters is the role and responsibility of Election Commission, which is a constitutional body. The Election commission doesn't add or delete the names of voters on the direction of a political party," the complaint said.
It further said that the poll panel has also refuted the allegations of the AAP leaders as "baseless and without facts".
"According to Election Commission, addition and deletion is a regular exercise to be undertaken by them," the complaint said.