Atishi gets defamation notice over ‘BJP poaching AAP MLAs’ remark

Though Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal was also named in the defamation case, the court did not summon him as it found no prima facie offence against him.
Delhi Minister and Aam Aadmi Party  leader Atishi.
Delhi Minister and Aam Aadmi Party leader Atishi.FILE Photo | EPS

NEW DELHI: A Delhi court on Tuesday summoned AAP senior leader and cabinet minister Atishi to appear on June 29 in connection with a defamation case by Delhi BJP media head Praveen Shankar Kapoor for “accusing the saffron party of poaching AAP MLAs.”

Though Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal was named in the defamation case, the court did not summon him as it found no prima facie offence against him. The BJP leader in the case filed on April 30 claimed that Atishi’s allegations harmed him and his party’s reputation.

Kapoor said Atishi and other AAP leaders made baseless claims without supporting evidence. He highlighted a social media post by Kejriwal alleging that the BJP offered Rs 25 crore to seven AAP MLAs to switch parties. Kapoor also referenced Atishi’s assertion that she “received an offer to join the BJP” if she wished to “protect her political career”.

At a press conference in April, Atishi stated, “The BJP has approached me through someone very close. They asked me to join the BJP and said this would save my political career. They have threatened that if I don’t switch over, ED will arrest me within a month.” She further claimed that she and fellow AAP members Saurabh Bharadwaj, Raghav Chadha, and Durgesh Pathak were also at “risk of imminent arrest.”

‘Dictatorship’

Kapoor’s petition seeks a retraction of Atishi’s remarks and a public apology via television and social media.

In response to the court’s summons, Kejriwal criticised the actions as politically motivated. “ I had said earlier that they will arrest Atishi next. They are planning to do so now. Complete dictatorship,” he posted on X.

“In completely flimsy, frivolous and false cases, they are arresting ALL leaders of AAP one by one. Every single opposition leader will be arrested if Modi ji comes back to power,” he said in another post.

Atishi questioned the BJP as to why cases of corruption against political leaders were withdrawn after they joined the party. “I want to know from the BJP how they formed the governments in Goa, Manipur and Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and Arunachal Pradesh without a majority. Operation Lotus of BJP is well known,” she said.

‘Diverting issue’

Delhi BJP president Virendra Sachdeva hit back at Kejriwal saying whenever he faces corruption charges or he has to divert any issue, he starts alleging that his MLAs are being poached and his government is being toppled.

“We had warned them earlier because they were lying and a notice of defamation was sent to them asking them to apologise. Now the court has summoned Atishi and their lies will be exposed,” he alleged.

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