Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and suspended BJP MP Kirti Azad were on Monday summoned as accused by a city court in a criminal defamation complaint filed by DDCA and its vice president Chetan Chauhan, observing that their statements prima facie adversely affected the reputation of the cricketing body and its officials.
Metropolitan Magistrate Abhilash Malhotra asked Kejriwal and Azad to appear before the court on February 18, saying it was prima facie clear that the former had made such a “serious defamatory remark” that a DDCA official had sought sexual favours from an unnamed woman for her son’s selection in its cricket team, only on the basis of hearsay information received from his friend.
“Under the aegis of DDCA, hundreds of players are playing cricket. Such a drastic statement and that too from the Chief Minister, may have a negative impact and leave an adverse impression in the mind of cricketers, officials and public at large, impacting reputation of the DDCA, its organisational functioning and the transparency of the selection process.
“A person especially holding a constitutional post is reasonably expected to exercise sensitivity and prudence in making discourses and imputations which may have negative impact on the reputation of an institution working in public domain,” the court said.
Chauhan, in his complaint filed through advocate Sangram Patnaik, has claimed that the defamatory statements were made by Kejriwal and Azad, who himself is a member of DDCA, “to remain in public eye and gain political mileage”.
“In an interview to a news channel, Kejriwal had alleged that apart from financial irregularities, there were other major wrong-doings in DDCA, including sex racket.
“Kejriwal had alleged that sexual exchange is sought for by DDCA while making any player play for the team and this amounts to defamation,” the plea alleged, seeking prosecution of Kejriwal and Azad.
The magistrate, in a seven-page order, said it was prima facie clear that such a statement by Kejriwal in an interview to a news channel regarding “sexual favour sought by DDCA official” was made without any discreet inquiry and only on hearsay basis which had adversely affected reputation of the institution, its officials and the selection committee.
Regarding Azad, the court said it was prima facie clear that he had also levelled disparaging allegations against DDCA and its officials alleging selection of players in consideration of sexual favours.
“The allegations have been widely published harming the reputation of DDCA. Accordingly prima facie the ingredients of sections 499 (defamation)/500 (punishment for defamation) of IPC are also attracted against Kirti Azad,” the court said.
“Both the accused persons, i.e. Arvind Kejriwal and Kirti Azad, be summoned for the offence of defamation,” it said.