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Arvind Kejriwal apologises for ‘unfounded’ drug charges, Majithia to withdraw defamation case

Chandigarh, March 16: A former Akali Dal minister of Punjab, Bikram Singh Majithia, on Thursday decided to withdraw his defamation case against Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) convener and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal after the latter apologised for accusing him of involvement in the drug trade last year.

The AAP later said Kejriwal would opt to “amicably sort out” other legal cases —mostly of defamation — filed against him. One of the most prominent defamation cases against Kejriwal has been filed by Union finance minister Arun Jaitley, who sued the Delhi chief minister for Rs 10 crore in December 2015 for accusing him of corruption when he was Delhi and District Cricket Association president.

Kejriwal is also facing defamation suits from Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) member of parliament Ramesh Bidhuri, Congress leader Pawan Khera and Union transport minister Nitin Gadkari, among others

A statement released by the AAP on Thursday said Kejriwal was facing dozens of civil and criminal cases related to defamation, putting up hoardings and posters during election campaigns, violation of orders banning public assemblies and staging public protests in Delhi.

There are similar cases in other parts of India like Varanasi, Amethi, Punjab, Assam, Maharastra and Goa.

“Most of these cases require a personal appearance. These cases have been foisted by our political rivals to demotivate us and keep our leadership busy in these legal matters. The decision to amicably sort out all such legal cases is a strategy as devised by the legal team of the party,” AAP spokesperson Saurabh Bharadwaj said in a statement.

He said that the cases in Delhi had been put on the fast track, forcing AAP legislators and ministers to attend hearings virtually on a daily basis in the courts in Delhi and other states.

“Contesting court cases is taking a toll on already constrained resources of the party and individuals,” Bharadwaj said.

Asked whether Kejriwal would also apologise to Jaitley, Bharadwaj said he had “no such information”.

Majithia announced that he had decided to withdraw the defamation case filed against Kejriwal in an Amritsar court last year after receiving a written apology from Kejriwal for the accusation he made at an AAP rally in the city.

“In the past, I made certain statements against you regarding your alleged involvement in the drug trade. These statements became a political issue. Now I have found that the allegations are unfounded, and hence, there should be no politics on such issues. I hereby withdraw all the statements and allegations made against you and apologise for the same,” Kejriwal wrote.

Majithia said he will also withdraw a case filed against another AAP leader, Ashish Khaitan, as he too had apologised.

“I am thankful to my party, its leaders, my family and the lawyers who stood by me in these tough times,” he said at a press briefing on Thursday.

Meanwhile, senior AAP leaders from Punjab, including leader of opposition Sukhpal Singh Khaira said they were “appalled” by Kejriwal’s apology, which was a “meek surrender”.

Source Hindustan Times



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