A court recorded the statements of two persons on Thursday in support of a defamation complaint filed by BJP leader Vijender Gupta against Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his deputy Manish Sisodia for allegedly maligning his image by accusing him of attempting to kill the AAP chief.
The statements of Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM) state secretary Deepak Bansal and Anurag Malik, a law student from Delhi University, were recorded before Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Samar Vishal.
The court noted the submission of Mr Gupta's counsel that he does not want to lead further evidence and that pre-summoning evidence may be closed.
"In view of the submissions, pre-summoning evidence is closed. Put up for arguments on the point of summoning of accused persons on July 8," the magistrate said.
Mr Gupta told the court on Wednesday that he was deeply hurt by the defamatory and false allegations levelled against him by Mr Kejriwal and Mr Sisodia.
He alleged that the "false" allegations were made to impact the Lok Sabha polls in Punjab, which were held in the last phase.
"The accused persons have made statements publicly on social media i.e Twitter. The tweet made by Mr Kejriwal was re-tweeted around 3,000 times, while Mr Sisodia's tweet was re-tweeted around 1,300 times. In addition, this being a sensational charge, it was picked up by both print and electronic media houses, thereby gravely impairing my reputation and the reputation of the BJP, for which both the accused are responsible.
"I was deeply hurt by the defamatory and false statements of both the accused persons. They made these false statements to impact the last phase of the Lok Sabha election in Punjab in their favour," Mr Gupta said in his statement.
In the complaint, Mr Gupta, who is the Leader of Opposition in the Delhi Assembly, has sought Rs one crore as compensation from Mr Kejriwal and Mr Sisodia, besides the litigation costs.
The BJP leader also said the two Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leaders had not expressed any remorse or apologised for his "reputation being harmed".
He alleged that the statements of the accused were made with "ulterior motives" to degrade his reputation, malign his image and gain political mileage.
Mr Gupta described the allegation that he was attempting to kill Mr Kejriwal as "malicious, deliberate and defamatory".
A legal notice was sent to the two AAP leaders, wherein they were called upon to immediately withdraw their tweets and apologise within a day, the complaint said.
During the Lok Sabha polls, the Delhi chief minister had said in an interview to a Punjabi television channel that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) wanted to get him killed by his own Personal Security Officer (PSO) in the manner in which former prime minister Indira Gandhi was assassinated.
Countering the charge, Mr Gupta had tweeted, "Before the slapgate on May 4, @ArvindKejriwal asked the liaison officer to lift the security cover around his vehicle. The chief minister's instruction is registered in the roznamcha (police diary). The AAP could not receive electoral gain out of it because I exposed this, so out of frustration Mr Kejriwal is saying that his PSO reports to the BJP."
Deputy Chief Minister Mr Sisodia shot back and accused Mr Gupta of being a part of the conspiracy to kill the AAP supremo.
"BJP is conspiring to get the CM killed. This tweet by @Gupta_vijender has proved that the BJP is getting the daily security plan of the CM and it is hatching a conspiracy to kill the CM on this basis. Vijender Gupta is also a part of this conspiracy," he had said.
Mr Gupta's tweet referred to an incident on May 4, when Mr Kejriwal was slapped allegedly by a disgruntled AAP supporter during a roadshow in Moti Nagar here, prompting a strong reaction from the AAP, which alleged that the BJP was behind the "cowardly act".