Bhopal District court stays warrant against Uma Bharti in defamation case

The district court on Thursday stayed the non-bailable arrest warrant issued against Union Water Resources Minister Uma Bharti by a lower court earlier in the day for not appearing for the hearing of a defamation case filed against her by Congress leader Digvijaya Singh.

Additional District Judge Ramkumar Choubey stayed the warrant issued by magistrate’s court after Bharti’s lawyer moved the District Court saying that her statement could be recorded through a lawyer, and her presence was not necessary.

The case was not of serious nature, the lawyer said.

Earlier in the day, Chief Judicial Magistrate Bhubhaskar Yadav issued a warrant in Bhrati’s name and adjourned the hearing of the 13-year-old defamation case to October 19.

Senior police officers should execute the warrant, the CJM said, dismissing an application for exemption from today’s hearing moved by Bharti’s lawyer Harish Mehta.

Mehta pleaded that she could not remain present in the court as she was to chair a meeting regarding the Cauvery water sharing dispute between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.

CJM Yadav dismissed the plea, observing that Bharti had not appeared before the court to record statement since October 2015, and enough time had been given to her.

In February, the then CJM Pankaj Singh Maheshwari had asked Bharti and Digvijaya Singh to attempt mediation to settle the dispute out of the court, but it did not work.

The senior Congress leader filed the case against Bharti in 2003, when she was BJP’s chief ministerial candidate for the Madhya Pradesh Assembly polls, after she alleged that a multi-crore rupees scam had taken place during Singh’s tenure as the Chief Minister between 1993 and 2003.