Jolt to Ashok Gehlot as Delhi court rejects acquittal plea in defamation case

This decision by the court has reignited troubles for CM Gehlot as the defamation case against him will now proceed.

Published: 19th September 2023 10:56 PM  |   Last Updated: 19th September 2023 10:56 PM   |  A+A-

Ashok Gehlot

Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot

Express News Service

JAIPUR: In a significant development, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot suffered a legal setback at the Rouse Avenue Court in Delhi over the defamation case filed against him by Union Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat.

CM Gehlot had filed a petition seeking the dismissal of charges, citing Union Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat's non-appearance in court as the complainant. However, the Rouse Avenue Court in Delhi has rejected CM Ashok Gehlot's plea.

This decision by the court has reignited troubles for CM Gehlot as the defamation case against him will now proceed. Rouse Avenue Court Judge Harjeet Singh Jaspal is scheduled to conduct the next hearing in the defamation case on September 25-26.

Notably, both CM Gehlot and Gajendra Singh Shekhawat had requested an exemption from appearing in court today, a request that was granted by the court.

Previously, on September 14, the court had reserved its verdict for September 19 following a spirited one-and-a-quarter-hour debate between the lawyers representing Gehlot and Shekhawat. During the last hearing, both Ashok Gehlot and Gajendra Singh Shekhawat appeared via video conferencing. Lawyers from both sides engaged in a heated debate, with senior advocate Vikas Pahwa representing Shekhawat and senior advocate Mohit Mathur representing Gehlot.

Mohit Mathur argued that if the complainant fails to appear on three consecutive dates, the court has the authority to acquit the accused under Section 256.

Given that complainant Gajendra Singh Shekhawat had already been absent on three consecutive dates, Mohit Mathur contended that Ashok Gehlot should be acquitted of the defamation case.

Opposing this, Shekhawat's lawyer Vikas Pahwa presented counterarguments suggesting that Gehlot despite being accused had not appeared in court yet and therefore a notice should be issued to compel his appearance.

It is worth noting that in the criminal defamation case initiated by Union Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat against Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, the court issued a summon and ordered Gehlot to appear on August 7.

Subsequently, Gehlot appealed in the sessions court, seeking permission to appear via video conferencing instead of in-person attendance. Since then, Gehlot has consistently presented himself before the court via video conferencing, with the next hearing in the case scheduled for September 25.

The defamation claim was lodged by Union Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat on behalf of CM Ashok Gehlot, accusing him and his family of involvement in the Sanjeevani scam.

The Rouse Avenue Court had issued a summons against CM Ashok Gehlot on July 6, prompting Gehlot to file a revision in the sessions court. However, he did not obtain relief there. The Revision Court granted CM Gehlot permission to appear only through video conferencing.

Initially, CM Ashok Gehlot had launched an attack on Union Minister Gajendra Singh in connection with the defamation case, asserting that the entire scandal existed only on paper.

Gehlot welcomed Gajendra Singh's defamation case, stating that it would at least push forward the Sanjeevani case. In addressing PM Modi, Gehlot had urged the removal of Gajendra Singh from his cabinet.

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