Shanti Bhushan serves notice on defiant Digvijay (Lead)April 20th, 2011 - 9:29 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, April 20 (IANS) Former law minister Shanti Bhushan Wednesday served a legal notice on Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh demanding a public apology for alleging that he had undervalued a property in Allahabad and not paid adequate stamp duty on it. But the Congress leader remained unmoved.
Bhushan, a senior Supreme Court counsel and co-chair of the joint committee for drafting an anti-graft Lokpal Bill, sought the apology through a defamation notice served on Digvijay Singh, a copy of which has been sent to Congress president Sonia Gandhi.
But Singh said that he has not said anything that could have offended Bhushan.
“I would like to see or hear what I have said which has offended them,” Digvijay Singh told NDTV.
The senior Congress leader also said he is yet to receive the notice.
The defamation notice, served through advocate Kamini Jaiswal, said that Digvijay Singh had given an interview to journalist Karan Thapar on Devil’s Advocate programme and had cast aspersions on Bhushan’s integrity.
“In this show you cast an aspersion on the integrity of my client and also suggested that my client had undervalued the property which he had purchased in Allahabad and also not paid adequate stamp duty on it. You also said this raised serious question marks about his not being a suitable person to be on the committee for drafting the Lokpal Bill to fight corruption,” the notice says.
It said that Singh, during an interview to NDTV April 15, stated that Bhushan pressurised the owner of the property in Allahbad to sell it to him at an undervalued price.
“You have further said that the government has sent a notice to my client demanding stamp duty of more than Rs.1 crore. All your above statements are false and highly damaging to my client’s reputation,” the notice said.
It also says that Singh’s statements amount to defamation, both civil and criminal, under Section 499 of the Indian Penal Code and punishable with imprisonment of up to two years.
“You are, therefore, called upon to immediately publicly apologise for the incorrect allegations made by you against my client, failing which we will be constrained to take proceedings against you both civil and criminal in appropriate courts of law at your risk and cost,” the notice said.
A defiant Singh said : “I had only raised three points. One, the process should be totally transparent, two the background picture of Bharat Mata resembled (during Anna Hazare’s fast-unto-death) the Bharat Mata RSS puts in the background and the picture of Mahatma Gandhi was missing. And number three, why did they ignore civil society activists like Aruna Roy and Harsh Mandar? I think they are more qualified and their credentials are much better.”
Asked about Anna Hazare’s letter to Congress president Sonia Gandhi about an alleged smear campaign launched against civil right activists, Singh said that Congress would go to any extent to fight corruption.
“Mrs. Sonia Gandhi was the first leader in India who had openly supported Anna Sahab Hazare’s movement against corruption and the Congress party would go to any extent to see that corruption is minimised and all corrupt people are booked.
“Have you seen the action taken by Congress against its own ministers and against senior officers? Give me an instance where corporate honchos have been sent to jail, what more can any government do?” he asked.
On her part, Gandhi has reiterated her support to Hazare’s demand for a strong Lokpal Bill and said she doesn’t “support nor encourage the politics of smear campaign” against civil rights activists.
“Let me reiterate what I wrote to you earlier that I believe there is an urgent necessity to combat graft and corruption. You should have no doubt of my commitment in the fight for probity in public life,” Gandhi wrote to Hazare in her capacity as the chairperson of the National Advisory Council (NAC), the advisory body to the government.
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- I will answer Bhushan's notice in court: Digvijay Singh - Apr 21, 2011
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- I will answer Bhushan's notice in court: Digvijay (Lead) - Apr 21, 2011
- Bhushans sink deeper into controversy but fight back (Roundup) - Apr 20, 2011
- I don't support smear campaign: Sonia Gandhi - Apr 20, 2011
- Looking forward to work on Lokpal Bill: Pranab - Apr 22, 2011
- PM firm on Lokpal bill as Bhushans fight more taint (Evening Lead) - Apr 21, 2011
- I am happy with Sonia's reply, says Anna Hazare - Apr 21, 2011
- I told you my stand earlier, Sonia writes to Hazare (Lead) - Jun 19, 2011
- 'I do not support politics of smear campaign': Sonia Gandhi - Apr 20, 2011
- Controversies will not affect working of Lokpal panel: Mukherjee (lead) - Apr 22, 2011
- I don't support smear campaign, Sonia tells Hazare (Lead) - Apr 20, 2011
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Tags: allahabad, allahbad, aspersion, aspersions, bhushan, congress leader, congress president sonia gandhi, defamation, devil s advocate, digvijay singh, indian penal code, jaiswal, kamini, law minister, ndtv, public apology, question marks, stamp duty, suitable person, thapar