New Delhi: A non-bailable arrest warrant was issued against Union Minister Uma Bharti by a local court on Thursday for not appearing before it in connection with a 13-year-old defamation case filed against her by Congress leader Digvijaya Singh. Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM) Bhubhaskar Yadav said senior police officers should execute the arrest warrant, while dismissing the Union Water Resources Minister’s application, moved by her lawyer Harish Mehta, seeking exemption from appearance during court hearing on Thursday due to an important engagement.
Mehta pleaded that his client be exempted from the hearing on ground that she was engaged in a meeting regarding the Cauvery water dispute between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu in view of Supreme Court’s order.
CJM Yadav dismissed the plea saying that Bharti is not turning up to record her statement in connection with the defamation case since October 2015 and enough time has been given to her in the 13-year-old case. Earlier in February, the then CJM Pankaj Singh Maheshwari had asked Bharti and Digvijaya Singh to be present at a mediation centre on its premises along with their lawyers to resolve their differences, but it didn’t work.
The senior Congress leader had filed the case against the then BJP chief ministerial candidate Bharti in the run-up to the 2003 Madhya Pradesh Assembly polls after she alleged that a scam running in crores of rupees had taken place during Singh’s tenure as the state’s chief minister between 1993 and 2003.