The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Scam battle in court

Darjeeling, June 23: The battle between the GNLF and the PDF over the multi-crore school scam is now set to be fought in the court room.

Aita Raj Dewan, a senior GNLF leader and former education councillor, today filed a Rs 1-crore suit (defamation claim) against Madan Tamang, the chairman of the anti-Subash Ghisingh coalition.

The legal battle is interesting

as the civil judge (senior division) has also entertained Dewan's application for an injunction to restrain Tamang from making further defamatory speeches in public.

The defamation case ' the claim for which was lodged today ' had been filed on Wednesday by Dewan before the judicial magistrate in Darjeeling under Sections 499 and 500 of the Indian Penal Code. It is criminal in nature and can lead to imprisonment up to two years. The civil case, on the other hand, allows for defamation claim.

Not to be left behind, Tamang has also filed a caveat in the same court today. While Taranga Pandit is heading a team of 17 lawyers to plead the GNLF case, the PDF chairman did not engage any professional for the caveat. Caveat essentially means that the court cannot give any ex-parte (without the presence of both parties) judgment on the injunction and that notices of the cases has to be given to Tamang well in advance.

'We will send the notice tomorrow and the hearing has been fixed on June 29,' said Pandit. This means that under the caveat, the PDF leader can still level allegations against Dewan till the case is heard. Tamang had, in the past, raised questions on Dewan's assets, which are allegedly disproportionate to his known sources of income. He has also questioned the former education councillor's role in the scam. Justifying his case, Dewan said: 'Why have I been accused of being involved in the scam when my name does not even figure in the FIR' His (Tamang) comment has defamed me in the eyes of the public.'

Tamang, while admitting he had filed the caveat, said the development was a healthy sign. 'A party (GNLF), which only speaks of violence, is fighting it out in the courtroom. I welcome their decision as it is now a battle of wits,' said Tamang.

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