Bhopal, Nov. 17: Madhya Pradesh chief minister Digvijay Singh has filed a defamation suit against Uma Bharti, accusing her of levelling “unsubstantial, unsavoury and false” charges against him.
Digvijay has sought criminal prosecution of the BJP’s chief ministerial candidate under Section 500 of the Indian Panel Code. He is believed to be “most upset” by Bharti’s charge that he was involved in a Rs 15,000-crore scam.
“She has not produced even an iota of evidence. Is it done in public life'” he asked.
Bharti appeared far from rattled by reports of the suit. She said she would fight the battle both in court and in “janata ki adalat (people’s court)”.
She then turned on Chhattisgarh chief minister Ajit Jogi, calling him “fraud number one, Shri 420, liar and an expert in forgery”. Commenting on the bribery scandal involving former junior environment minister Dilip Singh Judeo, Bharti said he was a victim of a “conspiracy hatched” by Jogi.
Digvijay said he was “extremely hurt and exercised” by Bharti’s accusations. “Never in my public life have I been treated like this by my political adversaries. I am battling for my honour and reputation, therefore, I am not demanding any damages.” He said it was likely that Jogi, too, would drag Bharti to court.
The chief minister appeared in person in the court of the Bhopal chief judicial magistrate, who issued summons to Bharti and gave her time till December 15 to respond to the charges. Vivek Tankha, who resigned as state advocate general two days ago, is handling Digvijay’s case. Tankha said he was confident the court would restrain Bharti.
Digvijay wondered how the central BJP leadership was keeping mum about the whole affair. “Examine this. Here is a minister seen taking money in a video but no criminal proceedings are initiated. And she (Bharti) has the audacity to accuse me as the most corrupt chief minister of the country.”
Digvijay said Judeo could have resigned but there were several questions remaining to be answered. “Why has a criminal case not been filed' Why was he taking money' Was it for the party or for himself'” he asked, adding the Congress would go to the people in the election-bound states and “expose” the BJP’s “real face”.
Earlier, Union law minister Arun Jaitley, who is camping in Bhopal, said there was no need for Judeo to quit on grounds of probity in public life. He said facts had to be cross-checked and the genuineness of the tapes ascertained before action is taken against Judeo.