BHOPAL: A Madhya Pradesh court on Thursday issued arrest warrant against Union minister Uma Bharti over consistent failure to record her statement in a defamation case filed by senior congress leader Digvijay Singh.
Court of Bhu Bhaskar, chief judicial magistrate (CJM) Bhopal has directed senior superintend of police (SSP) to ensure her presence during the next hearing on October 19. This order came in response to an application moved by Uma Bharti's lawyer Harish Mehta under section 317 of CrPC -provision for inquiries and trial being held in the absence of accused in certain cases. CJM observed that she has not appeared before the court during trials in the last one year.
During its last hearing on February 5, court had directed Uma Bharti and Digvijay Singh to be present here for a possible mediation in the case on March 8. The direction came after the court admitted an application moved by Mehta stating about a possibility of compromise between the union minister and Congress leader.
Uma Bharti was scheduled to record her statement in connection with the case during the previous hearing too, but was represented by her lawyer. Singh had already deposed before the CJM.
Digvijay Singh had moved court against Uma Bharti for her purported statement in 2003 alleging a scam in Madhya Pradesh during his tenure as chief minister between 1993 and 2003. In the run-up to 2003 Assembly elections Uma Bharti had accused Digvijay of being involved in a scam of Rs 15,000 crore during his 10 years tenure. Later in 2014 Digvijay Singh had said that he was ready to withdraw the defamation case only if she apologises in court for 'levelling false allegations'.