New Delhi, Mar 24 (IANS): A Delhi court on Friday directed the police to investigate the criminal defamation complaint filed by Union Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat against Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot over the latter's "misleading statements" against him.
On Thursday, the court had reserved the order on the point of issuance of summons.
Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Harjeet Singh Jaspal of the Rouse Avenue Court directed the Joint Commissioner of Police concerned to probe the matter by himself or through an officer not below the rank of an Inspector and file the report on April 25.
"Keeping in mind the facts and circumstances and also keeping in mind the legislative mandate (considering the fact that the accused is residing outside the local jurisdiction of this court), this court directs an investigation into the matter, through Delhi Police. Keeping in mind the sensitivity of the matter, it is directed that the Joint Commissioner concerned shall monitor the investigation," the judge said.
The judge said that the investigation should be such that the answers to these three questions - whether complainant Shekhawat was addressed as "an accused" in the Sanjivani scam by accused Gehlot, whether Gehlot stated that the allegations against Shekhawat stand proved in the Sanjivani scam, and whether Shekhawat or his family members have been arrayed as "an accused" in the investigation of the scam -- are determined.
Shekhawat filed a defamation case against Gehlot earlier this month, claiming that the latter made defamatory statements against him in connection with the Sanjivani Credit Cooperative Society scam.
He has said that an investigation was initiated in the case but his name was not mentioned anywhere and demanded prosecution against Gehlot for criminal defamation under the Indian Penal Code (IPC). He has also demanded appropriate financial compensation for the loss of his reputation.
Earlier, the war of words between Gehlot and Shekhawat had intensified over the Sanjivani Credit Cooperative Society scam with the Rajasthan Chief Minister openly declaring the Union Minister "a culprit like the others".
"The Union Minister is trying to mislead the public in the case of the Sanjivani Cooperative Society Ltd scam. In the investigation of the Special Operation Group (SOG), the crime has been proved against him under the same sections as the other arrested accused."
Shekhawat had said that Gehlot terming him as an 'accused' in the Sanjivani Credit Cooperative Society scam is akin to his "political assassination to settle scores".
"The SOG presented three charge sheets but there is neither my nor my family's name anywhere. Still, the Chief Minister called me an accused," he said.