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A city court today decided to record pre-summoning evidence in two criminal defamation complaints filed by Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain against sacked minister Kapil Mishra and a BJP MLA for allegedly defaming him by levelling graft charges. The matter was listed for July 28 as Metropolitan Magistrate Shefali Barnala Tandon is attending a training session. The court had earlier taken cognisance of the complaints filed against Mishra and BJP MLA Manjinder Singh Sirsa. Advocate Gautam Dhamija, appearing for Jain, had then argued that Mishra had allegedly made defamatory statements before the national media. He had alleged that Mishra used his official Twitter handle also to defame Jain and, instead of going to any probe agency, he had levelled the allegations before the media to defame the Health Minister. The plea claimed Sirsa had alleged that the minister was circulating huge amounts of illegitimate money within the party.
Jain has also accused a media house for publishing the alleged "libellous and slanderous statements" made by Sirsa. The counsel had argued that the allegations were made in front of the national media but only one newspaper published it, which, he said, showed they were hand in glove with each other. Jain had on May 19 filed two criminal defamation complaints against Mishra and Sirsa for allegedly defaming him by levelling graft charges against him. If convicted, the offence of defamation entails a maximum punishment of two years. Jain in his plea against Mishra, who was earlier heading the water department, submitted that on May 7, he had made a statement before the media accusing him of handing a bribe of Rs two crore to Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on May five. He said his family members and people from his constituency had questioned him about the incident which had caused irreparable damage to his reputation. Regarding Sirsa, Jain said that on May 9, the MLA had made libellous statements by levelling corruption allegation against him. He said that making a statement on the basis of "hearsay" without any proof or evidence supporting it, is not only unbecoming of an MLA, but also a crime of defaming a person.
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