Former Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, his son and former state minister Aditya Thackeray, and his close confidante Sanjay Raut were today summoned by the Delhi High Court in a defamation case. The April 17 summons is in connection with a petition filed by Rahul Ramesh Shewale, an MP from the rival Eknath Shinde camp of the Shiv Sena.
Mr Raut and other leaders from the Thackeray camp had claimed that Maharashtra Chief Minister Mr Shinde and his fellow leaders "bought" the 'bow and arrow' symbol of the Shiv Sena for Rs 2,000 crore.
Mr Shewale in his petition to the court demanded that it restrain the Thackeray camp leaders from making such remarks in the future. The court, however, said it wouldn't pass an order without hearing the other party as it's a political issue.
Rahul Ramesh Shewale's lawyer during the hearing said that Sanjay Raut and others had made the allegation against an institution like the Election Commission of India. The Delhi High Court said the ECI is capable of responding to such claims.
The Election Commission recently recognised the faction led by Mr Shinde as the Shiv Sena and allotted it the "bow and arrow" poll symbol.
Eknath Shinde, who calls himself the true inheritor of the legacy of Shiv Sena founder and Uddhav Thackeray's father Bal Thackeray, has accused the Shiv Sena (UBT) chief of attempting to destroy the careers of leaders of his own party.
Naming Raj Thackeray, Uddhav Thackeray's estranged cousin, and Narayan Rane, among others who left his side, Mr Shinde said he had never seen a leader who conspires with other political parties to destroy the political careers of his own people.
''How will the party grow in such a situation? I am not 'gaddar' (traitor) but 'khuddar' (a self-respecting person). Uddhav Thackeray doesn't have the right to call us traitors," he said.
Upset at Mr Thackeray for compromising with Shiv Sena's core ideals and ditching the BJP to form an alliance government with direct rivals Congress and Sharad Pawar-led NCP, Mr Shinde launched a coup that brought down the Maha Vikas Agadi government.
Eknath Shinde, along with 39 Shiv Sena MLAs, joined forces with the BJP, which he said was his party's natural ally, and formed a new government with BJP's Devendra Fadnavis as his deputy.
Shiv Sena last week sacked Sanjay Raut as the leader of its parliamentary party and appointed Lok Sabha MP Gajanan Kirtikar as his successor.