Delete defamatory posts against L-G: HC orders AAP

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The Delhi High Court on Tuesday directed the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) to take down defamatory social media posts against Delhi Lieutenant Governor VK Saxena over an alleged Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) scam. The ruling came on Saxena’s defamation case against the AAP and five of its leaders for making derogatory statements alleging corruption against him.

The Context

The ruling AAP and the BJP-led central government have been embroiled in a political battle over Delhi’s liquor policy. Saxena assumed charge as Delhi’s L-G in May. In July, he recommended a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the 2021-22 Delhi Excise Policy “scam”. The CBI named Delhi Deputy CM Manish Sisodia and 14 others as accused in its FIR. Notably, the feud between the L-G and Arvind Kejriwal’s administration in the national capital intensified after central agencies began investigating the excise policy case.

Big win for LG

Reacting to the High Court order, Saxena took to Twitter and tweeted: “Satyameva Jayate” (truth alone triumphs). Saxena had sent legal notices to AAP leaders Sanjay Singh, Atishi, Saurabh Bhardwaj, Durgesh Pathak and Delhi Dialogue and Development Commission vice-chairperson Jasmine Shah. He also sought damages and compensation of Rs 2.5 crore along with interest from the political party and its five leaders.

AAP allegations

The AAP leaders had alleged that Saxena had received and channelised outlawed (demonetized) currency in November 2016 while acting as chairman of the Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC). The party had alleged that Saxena was involved in a Rs 1,400 crore scam. The counsel for the AAP argued that one of the statements was that during Saxena’s tenure as KVIC Chairman, his daughter was given a contract of Khadi which was against the rules, as per media reports.

‘Figment of AAP’s imagination’

Saxena strongly refuted the allegation, saying they were a “figment of their imagination.” “This has been the hallmark of [Arvind] Kejriwal to shoot and scoot.” The L-G’s office had also rejected the allegations against Saxena, terming them “defamatory and blatantly false.” “The L-G…has decided to take legal action…so that AAP does not get away,” its statement said.

Court order

In an interim order, Justice Amit Bansal stated “I have passed an ad interim order in favour of plaintiff and a take down order. You can see detailed directions. Bansal ordered the AAP and five party leaders to delete all derogatory and false social media posts linking Saxena to the alleged Khadi scam.

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