NEW DELHI (TIP): Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on March 15 apologized to former Punjab minister Bikram Singh Majithia for making “unfounded” allegations against him over his involvement in the illegal drug trade.
Majithia, a senior Shiromani Akali Dal leader, had filed a criminal defamation case against Kejriwal and two other AAP leaders for allegedly “tarnishing” his reputation by levelling “false, baseless and malicious charges”.
Following the apology, Majithia has decided to withdraw the court case against him.
However, the “meek surrender” drew flak from AAP Punjab unit leaders who termed Kejriwal’s step a “letdown”.
AAP leaders in New Delhi, however, said the move was to shed court cases, in which the party convenor finds himself mired, and hinted that a similar course could be adopted in the defamation case filed by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.
Kejriwal apology “In the recent past, I made certain statements and allegations against you regarding your alleged involvement in drug trade. These statements became a political issue. Now I have learnt that allegations are unfounded,” Kejriwal said in a letter addressed to Majithia.
“I hereby withdraw all my statements and allegations made against you and apologies for the same,” the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) chief said.
The damage caused to your esteem, the hurt caused to you, your family, friends, well-wishers, followers and the loss caused to you is regretted, he said.
Former Punjab minister Majithia claimed he was grateful that truth had won and Kejriwal had realized his mistake. Since the AAP leader had “tendered his apology”, he did not want to pursue the defamation case filed against him, Majithia said.
Accusing Majithia of playing with the youth of Punjab by “unleashing narcoterrorism in the state,” Kejriwal had once declared that he would “drag” the then Punjab cabinet minister “by his collar” to jail for his alleged role in a multi-million rupee drug racket.
Majithia, who was once probed by the ED in connection with the alleged Rs 6,000 crore money laundering drugs racket case, had often been at the receiving end of Kejriwal’s ire during the AAP convenor’s rallies in Punjab in the run-up to the Assembly election last year.
Drug abuse was a major issue in the high-octane Punjab Assembly elections last year and Kejriwal, who was leading the AAP charge, accused Majithia, then a minister in the state government, of being involved in narcotics trade.
Majithia had denied the charges against him.
In May 2016, he filed a criminal defamation case against Kejriwal, Sanjay Singh and Ashish Khaitan. Majithia said Kejriwal, Singh and Khaitan have “made it a habit” to target their political opponents by resorting to statements “filled with lies with the sole motive of hoodwinking the people”.
“I will not let anyone besmirch my and family’s honour. Anyone doing so will have to face the consequences. I am determined to make them face trial and be punished for their misdeeds,” the minister had said.
Majithia ‘accepts’ Kejriwal’s apology Talking to reporters, Majithia said he had accepted the apology.
“I thank Kejriwal for showing greatness in seeking apology for his remarks made against me. I have told my lawyers that from our side, this case ends as Kejriwal has sought apology. I have asked my counsels to withdraw the defamation case. Person makes mistake and with the grace of God, if I have the ability to forgive and I will forgive,” the SAD leader said.
Majithia had filed a defamation case against Kejriwal and Ashish Khetan in May 2015.
“I had said from the beginning that either he will say sorry or he will go to jail. Sending someone to jail is not my intention,” he asserted.
It is indeed a historical moment that a sitting chief minister has submitted a written apology in court withdrawing all statements he made against me,”said Majithia.
The SAD leader said although it was
“very torturous journey” for him as he battled the allegations. “The AAP, however, did not benefit as their candidate lost his security forfeited in my constitutency,” he said.
Majithia said the entire controversy
had taken a toll on his mother because she could not understand this kind of politics.
“My wife also went through a difficult phase, I thank the almighty that this chapter has ended and truth has prevailed,” he said, adding, “If my two little kids were asked in school that your father does such things, you can imagine what could have been my position. What answer I could have given to them.” AAP
leader Ashish Khetan had apologized as well, he added.