DDCA defamation suit: HC asks Kejriwal, Azad to file written replies

DDCA filed a civil defamation suit of Rs 5 crore for their alleged remarks against the cricket body regarding its functioning and finances.

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Wednesday asked Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and suspended BJP MP Kirti Azad to file their written statements in a civil defamation suit of Rs 5 crore filed by DDCA for their alleged remarks against the cricket body regarding its functioning and finances.

Joint Registrar Anil Kumar Sisodia directed Kejriwal and Azad to submit their statements within 30 days after they failed to file it today on the ground that the two had not received the fully copy of the suit.

"The counsel for the defendent number 1 and 2 (Kejriwal and Azad) appeared on the summons issue to them and submitted that they have not received the full documents. Plaintiff (DDCA) is directed to supply the copy to the defendants within a week from today.

"The defendants shall file their written statements (to the suit filed by DDCA) within 30 days after receiving the full documents. The DDCA will file replication (the response of a plaintiff to the defendant's plea in an action at law, or to the defendant's answer in a suit) within four weeks thereafter. The parties shall file the original documents from ten weeks from today after exchanging the same," the court said.

It also directed that the affidavit of admission/ denial of documents shall be filed within 12 weeks from today and put up the matter for completion of pleadings and admission/denial of documents on July 7.

The court's direction came during hearing of Delhi District Cricket Association (DDCA)'s civil defamation suit in which Kejriwal and Azad were issued notice on January 15 for filing their written statements.

DDCA, through its counsel advocate Sangram Patnaik, had said that Kejriwal "with prior motive, indulged in certain false, shocking, scandalous, defamatory, baseless, slanderous, malicious, disgraceful and outrageous statements which are defamatory against them".

The counsel had said that Azad also indulged in making such statements, "which were made solely with an agenda to defame and cause harm to the plaintiff (DDCA), for self-serving and motivated reasons".

The DDCA, in its complaint, had said that the allegations regarding financial irregularities and corruption in selections at the junior level were "maligning the image" of the cricket body.

"Consequently, DDCA has suffered a loss of more than Rs 500 crore. However, DDCA is choosing to file the present suit for the damages arising out of the said defamation by the defendants, in the sum of Rs five crore (Rs 2.5 crore each).

"In addition to this, a public apology is also demanded by DDCA from Kejriwal and Azad," the complaint said.

Kejriwal and five others of his party have already been taken to the high court by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley for issuing allegedly false and defamatory statements against him and his family members. Jaitley has sought damages of Rs 10 crore from them.

DDCA and its treasurer Ravinder Manchanda, who filed the suit, have alleged that Kejriwal, without having any justifiable, substantial and/or on cogent evidence in his possession, has made the statement which was reported across the country, tarnishing the image of the cricket body and its members.

They have asked why Azad chose to remain silent for almost eight years without initiating any concrete steps to bring to the knowledge of DDCA about the alleged incidents in order to bring end to such practices.

DDCA has said that "the action of defendants have severely damaged the credibility and reputation of the cricketing body in eyes of thousands of cricket lovers, citizen of India as well as internationally.

"It is matter of deep shame that unauthenticated, false, scandalous and defamatory allegations have been made against DDCA which has led to the sullying of the reputation of not only DDCA, its officials and staff associated with it, but have even tarnished the image of a cricket-worshipping nation by the casting of such false, baseless and motivated aspersions," the suit has said.

It has also said that Kejriwal and Azad have "flagrantly violated all principles of responsible behaviour and ethics".

( Source : PTI )
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