Defamation case filed by Assam CM: Sisodia told to appear in person

Published on Nov 08, 2022 11:29 AM IST

On Friday, the Gauhati high court rejected Sisodia’s plea seeking the quashing of the case filed under sections 499 and 500 of the Indian Penal Code, currently pending in the court of chief judicial magistrate (CJM) in Kamrup

While dismissing Sisodia’s petition, justice Kalyan Rai Surana of Gauhati high court said the ongoing case in CJM court should “be decided on its own merit”. (HT Photo)
While dismissing Sisodia’s petition, justice Kalyan Rai Surana of Gauhati high court said the ongoing case in CJM court should “be decided on its own merit”. (HT Photo)

Delhi deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia will have to appear in person in a court in Assam’s Kamrup on November 19 in connection with a criminal defamation case filed against him by Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma.

On Friday, the Gauhati high court rejected Sisodia’s plea seeking the quashing of the case filed under sections 499 and 500 of the Indian Penal Code, currently pending in the court of chief judicial magistrate (CJM) in Kamrup.

“In August, the CJM court had issued summons to Sisodia, directing him to appear in person on September 29. But the Delhi deputy CM approached the Gauhati high court seeking quashing of the proceedings,” said Assam advocate general Debajit Saikia.

“The high court held that the petitioner Sisodia has not been able to make any case for quashing the proceedings in CJM court. Therefore, in continuation of the earlier summons, Sisodia will have to appear before the court on November 19,” he added.

While dismissing Sisodia’s petition, justice Kalyan Rai Surana of Gauhati high court said the ongoing case in CJM court should “be decided on its own merit”.

In July, Sarma had filed the defamation suit under sections 499, 500 and 501 of Indian Penal Code against Sisodia who accused Sarma of malpractice while giving a contract for supply of PPE kits to his wife Riniki Bhuyan Sarma’s company. In a press conference in Delhi on June 4, Sisodia alleged that when Sarma was a health minister in 2020, he had given an urgent contract to his wife’s firm for the supply of PPE kits at rates higher than the market price during the start of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020--at the rate of 990 per piece while the state government bought those kits from other companies at 600 per piece.

“The court conducted a preliminary inquiry into the case and issued the summons to Sisodia after examining two witnesses on August 19. CM Sarma also deposed before the court on August 5,” said Saikia.

Besides the criminal defamation suit, Sarma’s wife also filed a civil defamation suit in June worth 100 crore against Sisodia in the court of Civil Judge Number 1 at Kamrup metropolitan district.

Refuting the allegations made in a series of reports by The Wire, Riniki had issued a statement in June denying any wrongdoing.

She said that in the first week of the Covid-19 pandemic in March 2020, not a single PPE kit was available in Assam. Taking cognizance of that, she reached out to a business acquaintance, and delivered around 1,500 PPE kits to National Health Mission (NHM) Assam “with a lot of effort”.

“I wrote to NHM to treat it as part of my corporate social responsibility (CSR). I did not take a single penny out of this supply. I have always been transparent in my belief of giving back to society irrespective of my husband’s political standing,” her statement said.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Utpal is a Senior Assistant Editor based in Guwahati. He covers seven states of North-East India and heads the editorial team for the region. He was previously based in Kathmandu, Dehradun and Delhi with Hindustan Times.

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