NEW DELHI: Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav informed the Supreme Court on Monday that he has retracted his statement that "only Gujaratis can be thugs."
In response, the SC asked the complainant about the necessity of pursuing a defamation case when the individual in question has withdrawn the remarks.
A two-judge bench of the Apex Court, headed by Justice AS Oka and also comprising Justice Ujjal Bhuyan, adjourned the matter to January 29, after the counsel for the complainant, Hareshbhai Mehta, sought more time in the case.
The Supreme Court was hearing the senior Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader's petition seeking a direction to transfer the criminal defamation complaint pending against him in an Ahmedabad court over his alleged "only Gujaratis can be thugs" remark to move outside the state to a neutral place, preferably in Delhi.
The top court granted the petitioner's lawyer seven days to respond and asked him to take instructions from his client on the withdrawal of remarks by Tejashwi. Earlier, during one of the hearings in the SC, the bench had stayed the criminal defamation proceedings against Yadav and issued a notice to the complainant.
Mehta had filed the criminal defamation complaint against Tejashwi after being hurt by his alleged remarks. He filed the case against Yadav under sections 499 and 500 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) for alleged criminal defamation before a magistrate court in Ahmedabad.
According to the complaint, Yadav, while talking to the media in Patna in March 2023, had said, "Only Gujaratis can be thugs in the present situation, and their fraud will be forgiven."
"Who will be responsible if they run away with the money belonging to the LIC or banks?" the Bihar Deputy CM had allegedly asked.