While the news that Delhi Lieutenant Governor VK Saxena is suing Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leaders has gone wild and it is known that the issue is defamation, social media users are asking how MLAs Atishi Marlena, Saurabh Bharadwaj et al defamed him. The AAP leaders, Saxena says, made "highly defamatory and false" corruption allegations against him.
The AAP alleged that the Delhi lieutenant governor pressured two employees to change banned currency notes worth Rs 1,400 crore when he was chairman of a government Khadi body during the demonetisation of 2016. Saxena rubbished the AAP allegation as a "figment of their imagination". "This has been the hallmark of (Arvind) Kejriwal and co to shoot and scoot and then when pushed for (the) truth, apologise," said Saxena's office in a statement.
"The LG has taken a serious view of these blatantly false, defamatory and diversionary allegations made by these AAP leaders and has decided to take legal action against them so that the AAP does not get away with its characteristic shoot and scoot."
The Delhi lieutenant governor said at the time that a vigilance inquiry was called when it came to be known that certain demonetised notes had been deposited in the account of Khadi Gramodyog Bhawan. Four officials were suspended. When the case went to the CBI, it found that Rs 17,07,000 in banned notes was deposited and only two of the officials were involved. The Delhi lieutenant governor's office said that the case was still pending in court.
"The matter being falsely touted by the AAP is with regards to just Rs 17.07 lakh as against the claims of Rs 1,400 crore, which is nothing but a figment of imagination for which the habitual liars will face the consequences," the statement said.
Reacting to the defamation case, the AAP called for an inquiry. "There should be an independent inquiry in this case. The way this case was handled is against the principles of natural justice," said AAP spokesperson Saurabh Bharadwaj.
This is the latest flashpoint in the AAP's running feud with the Delhi lieutenant governor, who represents the union government in the city-state.
Tensions escalated after the Delhi lieutenant governor raised the issue of corruption in the AAP government's liquor policy for Delhi. On a report by the Delhi lieutenant governor, the CBI raided Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia and named him, along with 14 others, as an accused in its FIR.
Delhi Lieutenant Governor Saxena's office said legal action will be taken also against Jasmine Shah, the vice chairman of the Dialogue and Development Commission of Delhi.