A local court in Delhi will take up on June 6, the criminal defamation complaint filed by Union Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat against Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot over corruption allegations.
The Rouse Avenue Court will decide on whether a person holding a constitutional post needs sanction before issuing summons in a criminal defamation case.
Union Minister Shekhawat had filed a criminal defamation complaint against Gehlot, alleging that the Rajasthan Chief Minister gave a misleading statement about him. Gehlot had accused Shekhawat, his parents, wife and brother-in-law of being involved in the Sanjeevani Credit Society scam. The Congress leader further accused Shekhawat of keeping the money procured from the scam in other countries.
Shekhawat had moved the court against Gehlot, which ordered a Joint Commissioner level officer of Delhi Police to investigate the matter. Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (ACMM) Harjeet Singh Jaspal at the Rouse Avenue Court had directed the Delhi Police on March 24 to investigate the facts raised in Shekhawat’s complaint.
The ACMM directed the Delhi police to investigate whether complainant Shekhawat was addressed as ‘an accused’ in the Sanjeevani scam by Gehlot, whether the Rajasthan Chief Minister had stated that the allegations against the complainant had been proved in the scam case and whether Shekhawat or his family members had been arrayed as ‘accused’ in the investigation of the scam.
The defamation complaint alleged that during press conferences and media briefings, accused Gehlot had stated that the allegations against the complainant had been proved. Shekhawat further claimed in the plea that Gehlot had made similar defamatory accusations on multiple occasions and platforms, including the social media, print media and even on national television.
Shekhawat said in the complaint that false, derogatory, defamatory and uncalled for statements have been made by Gehlot against him with the aim to tarnish his image in the eyes of the general public, apart from gaining undue political mileage.
Representing Shekhawat, Senior Advocate Vikas Pahwa sought prosecution of Gehlot for allegedly making defamatory speeches against the Union Minister. He submitted that the allegations levelled by the Rajasthan Chief Minister had caused irreparable damage to Shekhawat’s reputation.
The Senior Counsel argued that the matter pertained to a case in which an FIR was registered in 2019. Three charge sheets have been filed in relation to the case and Shekhawat’s name has not appeared anywhere in the same, he noted.
Despite the Union Minister not being called by the Investigation officer in the scam case, the Chief Minister of Rajasthan had alleged that charges against Shekhawat have been proved, Pahwa pointed out.