New Delhi, Nov 15: Union Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi was today acquitted in a criminal defamation case against him by former JD(U) leader Sabir Ali after the court was told that the two have reached a settlement.
Ali had on September 16 sought a "written apology" from Naqvi, who is minister state for minority affairs in the Modi Cabinet, for allegedly linking him with arrested Indian Mujahideen co-founder Yasin Bhatkal. The court had on July 9 granted bail to Naqvi in the case. As soon as the proceedings, commenced before Metropolitan Magistrate Akash Jain today, the counsel appearing for Ali submitted that a settlement has been arrived between the complainant and Naqvi and the matter has been resolved.
Ali's counsel also told the court that he had already moved an application for withdrawing the criminal defamation complaint filed by his client against Naqvi earlier this year. "Keeping in view the settlement arrived at between the parties....the present complaint is withdrawn as settled," the magistrate said, adding, "accused (Naqvi ) is accordingly acquitted".
BJP leader Naqvi was inducted into Prime Minister Narendra Modi's council of ministers on November 9 as minister of state for minority affairs and parliamentary affairs. The court had earlier summoned Naqvi as accused, saying "prima facie" there was evidence and sufficient ground to proceed against him for the alleged offence of defaming Ali. Ali, in his complaint, had alleged that Naqvi had termed him as a friend of suspected terrorist Bhatkal in March and the story was circulated and telecast in India as well as abroad through social media as well as various newspapers and channels.
The former JD(U) leader had said that after he made a statement appreciating Narendra Modi, who was then the BJP Prime Ministerial candidate, in March this year, he was removed from JD(U). Ali had alleged that three-four hours after joining BJP, he started getting phone calls from his relatives, friends and media persons that Naqvi had allegedly tweeted against him on the social networking website Twitter.
BJP had on March 29 cancelled Ali's membership after the controversy erupted following the tweet by Naqvi. Ali, in his statement before the court, had deposed that the tweet by Naqvi has tarnished and maligned his reputation in the eyes of society, causing great mental suffering to him and his family.