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DDCA’s defamation suit: HC seeks reply from Kejriwal, Azad

Delhi high court

New Delhi : The Delhi High Court today sought response from Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and suspended BJP MP Kirti Azad in a civil defamation suit filed by DDCA for their alleged remarks against the cricket body regarding its functioning and finances.

Joint Registrar Anil Kumar Sisodia, after perusing the suit filed by Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA), held that the petition is “maintainable, so the defendants (Kejriwal and Azad) need to clear their stand”.

The registrar said that the defendants will file their response before March 2.

The court’s order came on the plea by DDCA that Kejriwal “with prior motive, has recently indulged in certain false, shocking, scandalous, defamatory, baseless, slanderous, malicious, disgraceful and outrageous statements which are defamatory against them”.

Advocate Sangram Patnaik, appearing for DDCA, said that Kirti Azad has 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”.

He said that the allegations against DDCA regarding financial irregularities and corruption in selections at the junior level were “maligning the image” of the cricket body.

“Consequently, even the conservatively, 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 dragged 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. Apart from this, the six Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leaders are also facing a criminal defamation case filed against them in the trial court by the minister.

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.

“The defendant number 2 (Azad) has chosen this very moment to wake up from his self-induced deep slumber in order to cast such scandalous and defamatory aspersions against DDCA, makes it obvious that the intention is to lower and damage the reputation of DDCA, for self-serving and motivated reasons,” the complaint has said.

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-worshiping 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 behavior and ethics”.

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