New Delhi: BJP Vice President Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi has been summoned as an accused by a Delhi court in a defamation complaint filed against him by former JD(U) leader Sabir Ali for allegedly linking him with arrested Indian Mujahideen co-founder Yasin Bhatkal.
Metropolitan Magistrate Akash Jain said "prima facie" there was evidence and sufficient ground to proceed against Naqvi for the alleged offence of defaming Ali, a sitting Rajya Sabha Member of Parliament.
The court has summoned Naqvi, who is also a sitting Rajya Sabha MP, for July 9 as an accused.
"It is a settled proposition of law that for the purpose of summoning of accused person what is to be seen is whether `prima facie` case exists or not. Keeping in view the sworn testimony of complainant witness 1 (Ali) and the material relied upon him in the form of...., this court is satisfied that the complainant (Ali) has prima facie established that the accused (Naqvi) has made imputation (in the form of tweet) against the complainant on the social networking site intending to harm or knowing or having reasons to believe that such imputation would harm the reputation of complainant.
"There are thus sufficient grounds to proceed against the accused for offence punishable under Section 500 (defamation) of the IPC. The accused is accordingly summoned for offence under Section 500 of the IPC... For July 9, 2014," the court said.
Ali, in his complaint, alleged that Naqvi had termed him as a friend of terrorist Bhatkal in March and the story was circulated and telecast in India as well as abroad through social media as well as various newspapers and channels.
He said that after he made a statement appreciating BJP Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi in March this year, he was removed from JD(U).
After having deliberations with some senior BJP members, it was decided by BJP President Rajnath Singh that he should join them, he said.
Ali said three-four hours after joining BJP, he started getting phone calls from his relatives, friends and media persons that Naqvi had allegedly tweeted against him on the social networking website, Twitter.
"In the evening of March 28, 2014, the tweet of accused was disclosed to complainant by certain mediapersons as `terrorist Bhatkal friend join BJP. Soon accepting Dawood`," the complaint alleged.
BJP had on March 29 cancelled Ali`s membership after the controversy erupted following the tweet by Naqvi.
Ali said he was "deeply hurt and shocked by the said tweet made by the accused which was published and highlighted in all the leading national daily newspapers in their March 29 and March 30 edition".
Ali, in his statement before the court, deposed that the tweet made by Naqvi on his account has tarnished and maligned his reputation in the eyes of society, causing great mental suffering to him and his family.
He said the photocopy of the alleged defamatory tweet and the newspapers cutting where the tweet was reported "prima facie shows that the offending tweet was made by the accused in his account on social networking site `Twitter`."
He claimed that content of the tweet was widely circulated in the print and social media and this was not disowned by Naqvi as apparent from the footage of his statement given to the news channels.
He claimed that due to the alleged statement of Naqvi, Ali and his family members suffered "gross mental harassment" and it has "severely damaged his political career".