Delhi Court Refuses To Acquit Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot In Defamation Case By Union Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat
A Delhi Court yesterday refused to acquit Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot in a criminal defamation case filed by Union Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat in relation to the alleged Sanjeevani scam.ACMM Harjeet Singh Jaspal of Rouse Avenue Courts dismissed Gehlot’s application seeking acquittal in the case citing Shekhawat’s absence on two occasions i.e. August 07 and August 21....
A Delhi Court yesterday refused to acquit Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot in a criminal defamation case filed by Union Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat in relation to the alleged Sanjeevani scam.
ACMM Harjeet Singh Jaspal of Rouse Avenue Courts dismissed Gehlot’s application seeking acquittal in the case citing Shekhawat’s absence on two occasions i.e. August 07 and August 21. The application was filed under Section 256 of CrPC.
The judge observed that Shekhawat’s conduct is of immense significance and an absence on mere two dates, and that too when he was represented by his counsel, cannot be called a justifiable ground to exercise the discretion and acquit Gehlot.
“….in the light of the aforesaid discussion, the application at hand stands dismissed,” the court said.
Furthermore, the court noted that on both the dates, the matter was listed for supply of documents and scrutiny and was clearly not an opportunity to Shekhawat to lead evidence.
“On both the said dates the Ld. Counsels for the complainant were present and therefore, it can be said that on the said dates the personal attendance of the complainant was not necessary to take the matter forward,” the court said.
“The argument put forth by the Ld. counsel for the accused that the complainant must necessarily be present on all dates before the court and a failure thereof would lead to a compulsory exercise of discretion u/s 256 Cr.PC and it was argued further that since on aforementioned two dates, when the complainant was not present, the court did not specifically allow the exemption application of the complainant (since it was not filed) this by itself amounts to a ground for acquittal of the accused. This court finds no merits in the said arguments put forth by the Ld. Counsel for the accused,” the court added.
The complaint case was filed by Shekhawat alleging defamation by Gehlot. Shekhawat has alleged that Gehlot called him and his family members, including his deceased mother, accused in the alleged scam. Shekhawat also alleged that during press conferences or media briefings, Gehlot claimed that the allegations against Shekhawat stand proved.
In March, the court had directed the Delhi Police to investigate if Shekhawat was addressed as “an accused” in the alleged scam by Gehlot. It had directed the Joint Commissioner of Delhi Police concerned to investigate the matter either himself or through an officer not below the rank of an Inspector.
While ordering police probe, the court had observed the whether or not the statements of Gehlot constitute defamation against Shekhawat largely rests upon the investigation being undertaken by the Special Operation Groups (SOG) in the scam in question.