New Delhi: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Deputy CM Manish Sisodia today appeared before a court here in connection with a criminal defamation complaint filed against them by former union minister Kapil Sibal's son Amit Sibal.
Kejriwal, Sisodia, noted advocate Prashant Bhushan and Shazia Ilmi, who has quit the Aam Aadmi Party, appeared before Metropolitan Magistrate Sunil Kumar Sharma who recorded Sibal's statement in the matter in which all four of them are facing trial.
As the matter commenced before the court, advocate Rahul Mehra, appearing for the accused, moved an application seeking exemption from personal appearance for Kejriwal and Sisodia.
Mehra said that Kejriwal has gone to St Stephen's College to attend the convocation function, while Sisodia had a meeting with the Union Home Minister. He, however, said if the court would direct them to appear today, they would do so later in the day.
Advocate Mohit Mathur, who appeared for Sibal, opposed the plea seeking exemption for Kejriwal saying whether college convocation was more important than attending the court proceedings.
“He (Kejriwal) is willing to attend the convocation but not bow down before the court. This is very strange,” he said.
Mathur, however, did not oppose Sisodia's exemption plea.At this juncture, Mehra told the court that Kejriwal and Sisodia would appear before it at 12.30 pm.
Thereafter, when the court started recording Sibal's statement, Kejriwal and Sisodia appeared before it. Bhushan and Ilmi were also present.
The matter has now been fixed for cross-examination of Sibal by the accused on May 2.
The court on September 20 last year had put all the four accused on trial for charge under section 500 (defamation) of the IPC.
The accused had not pleaded guilty to the offence and had claimed trial.
The court had on July 24 last year summoned Kejriwal, Sisodia, Bhushan and Ilmi in the criminal defamation case filed by Amit Sibal, who is a senior lawyer.
Sibal had alleged that AAP leaders had said he had taken advantage of his father's position to represent a telecom company in the court cases here.