NEW DELHI: Transport minister Kailash Gahlot has filed criminal and civil defamation suits against BJP MLA Vijender Gupta for making 'scandalous allegations' in procurement of low-floor buses. A statement issued by the minister's office on Thursday said that he had sought damages of Rs 5 crore from the BJP leader as damages in the civil defamation suit.
Gahlot has also sought the removal of all defamatory content posted by Gupta against him on Twitter and Facebook. "A civil suit and criminal complaint were filed against Vijender Gupta after he intentionally defamed and tarnished the reputation of the transport minister for malafide purposes and to gain political mileage through it. He has pleaded the High Court to direct Gupta, along with Twitter and Facebook, to remove all such content from the platforms," said the statement.
In the criminal defamation suit, Gahlot has sought action against Gupta under IPC sections 499 and 501 for his 'reckless remarks'. "BJP MLA Vijender Gupta has been continuously making allegations of corruption against the minister… continued to make reckless, irresponsible and false allegations with a deliberate intention and ill-will to tarnish the reputation of the minister in the eyes of the people.. Suit also seeks that Gupta be stopped from giving interviews, writing articles, blogs or by way of any other depiction against the plaintiff in respect of purchase of low-floor buses," the statement read.
In the latest move by AAP government to silence the opposition, Transport Minister @kgahlot has filed a defamation suit against me.— Vijender Gupta (@Gupta_vijender) August 26, 2021
Their attempts to dissuade me from pursuing the truth will not bear any fruit.
I am determined to expose the corrupt!#KejriwalKaBusScam pic.twitter.com/wo5SPfF4DR
Gahlot’s defamation suit comes after repeated claims by Gupta that there were irregularities in procurement of buses by the Delhi government. Responding to the development, Gupta said that the defamation suit was an attempt to suppress the voice of truth by the 'dictatorial' AAP government.
"The minister is trying to salvage his image after the L-G constituted committee's report found grave violations in the annual maintenance contract (AMC) of the 1,000 low-floor DTC buses. The case was taken up by the CBI for investigation," he said.
Later, he tweeted his resolve to pursue the case despite the notice from the transport minister. "In the latest move by AAP government to silence the opposition, Transport Minister has filed a defamation suit against me. Their attempts to dissuade me from pursuing the truth will not bear any fruit. I am determined to expose the corrupt!" the senior BJP leader said.
The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has already recommended a preliminary enquiry by the CBI into procurement of 1,000 low-floor buses by the Delhi government.
After Gupta raised the issue, L-G had formed a three-member committee, which in its report, had found no 'infirmity' in the procurement of 1,000 buses by the DTC. However, it flagged several lapses in the annual maintenance contract (AMC)