Court issues summons to Medha Patkar in defamation case

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Ahmedabad, Aug 28 (UNI) A local court has issued summons to social activist Medha Patkar, directing her to appear before the court on September 26, in a defamation case filed by National Council for Civil Liberties President V K Saxena.

Metropolitan Magistrate R G Chaudhary, while issuing summons, observed that the Investigation Officer found no evidence that suggested that the government had given contracts for the construction of Narmada Dam to the complainant as alleged by Ms Patkar. Even then, the accused made false and defamatory statements against the complainant.

The court passed the order after hearing Advocate T S Nanavati, who appeared on behalf of Mr Saxena.

In the order, Mr Chaudhary said, ''the accused was summoned repeatedly under Section 160 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) and police had tried to contact the accused for recording of the statement, even then the accused did not take any care.'' Therefore, the court found prima facie case against Ms Patkar and issued summons to appear before him on September 26.

The controversy began when Ms Patkar, in an interview to India TV, which was telecast on April 20, 2006, had stated that ''Mr Saxena is getting civil contracts from Sardar Sarovar Nigam. I am ready to prove this anytime.'' Mr Saxena immediately denied all the allegations in the same programme and challenged her to provide proof.

Following which, Mr Saxena sent a legal notice to Ms Patkar on April 29 and asked her to provide the true copy of the CD which, as she claimed, was in her possession to substantiate her allegations.

Despite sending the notice, Ms Patkar failed to provide any evidence. Hence, he filed a defamation case against her on June 29, 2006 under Section 499 and 500 of Indian Penal Code in the court.

The court, after watching the footage of the interview on the laptop, had directed the Navrangpura police to investigate the case to establish the crime. After conducting the enquiry, police submitted the report to the court that the Nigam had never given civil or any other contract to Mr Saxena.

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