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Defamation case: Bailable warrant issued against Digvijay, canceled later


New Delhi (Nov 1, 2014): A Delhi court on Saturday issued a bailable warrant against Congress leader Digvijay Singh for his failure to appear before it in connection with a criminal defamation case filed against him by BJP leader Nitin Gadkari only to cancel it after he turned up.

Metropolitan Magistrate Gomati Manocha cancelled the bailable warrant against Singh after he appeared before the court around 3 pm and requested it to withdraw the warrant.

He gave an undertaking to the court that he would personally appear before it on the next date of hearing on November 10.

Earlier in the day, around 12 noon, when the matter came up for hearing, Singh's counsel moved a plea seeking exemption from personal appearance for the day.

The court, however, dismissed his plea and issued bailable warrant against Singh after the application was opposed by advocates Ajay Digpaul and Balendu Shekhar, who appeared for Gadkari.

It also directed Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways Gadkari, who had filed the plea in 2012, to be present in the court on November 10, warning that his plea would be dismissed if he fails to appear on that day.

"Issue bailable warrant in the sum of Rs 10,000 with one surety of the like amount against the accused (Singh) for November 10, 2014...," the magistrate said.

"The complainant (Gadkari) is directed to appear in person positively on the NDOH (next date of hearing), failing which complaint shall be dismissed," the court said.

The defamation case was filed by Gadkari against Singh, who had alleged that the former BJP chief had business links with the then MP Ajay Sancheti.

Singh was earlier granted bail in the case by the court which, after finding "prima facie" evidence against him, had directed him to appear before it to face trial for the offence punishable under section 499 (defamation) and 500 (punishment for defamation) of the IPC.

It was also alleged in the complaint that Singh had accused Gadkari of pocketing sum to the tune of Rs 490 crore in the coal block allocation to Sancheti.

Gadkari, in his statement recorded in the court, had denied having any business ties with Sancheti and had said that Singh levelled "totally false and defamatory" allegations against him to "give the impression that I have been responsible for allocation of the coal mines" to Sancheti.

The BJP leader, in his petition, had sought Singh's prosecution under sections 499 and 500 of the IPC.

In his petition, Gadkari had alleged that Singh had levelled defamatory allegations against him to lower his dignity and to malign and tarnish his image.