Doval defamation case: Delhi court grants exemption from appearance to Jairam Ramesh

A Delhi court granted exemption to Congress leader Jairam Ramesh from personal appearance on Thursday but directed him to be present before it on May 9 in a defamation case filed against him by Vivek Doval, son NSA Ajit Doval. Accused no 1 Jairam Ramesh has filed exemption application through his counsel Omar Hoda. Considering the grounds mentioned in the application, the same is allowed only for today, the court said. Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Samar Vishal also granted bail to The Caravans editor-in-chief and its reporter, who appeared before the court after they were summoned as accused in the case. Since the offence of defamation under section 500 IPC is bailable in nature, both the accused are admitted on bail on furnishing personal bond and surety bond in the sum of Rs 20,000 each. Bail bonds furnished and accepted, the court said. During the hearing, lawyers appearing for the accused told the court that they have received copy of complaint and documents but copy of evidence recorded during the enquiry was unserved. The court then asked the lawyer appearing for Doval and undertook to supply the copies of all the evidence under due acknowledgment to the defence counsels today itself. Put up for bail proceedings of accused No 1 Jairam Ramesh and for framing of notice under section 251 CrPC on May 9, 2019. All the accused shall remain present personally for the purpose of framing of notice on the next date of hearing, the court said. The court had earlier summoned Ramesh, The Caravans editor and its reporter as accused in the defamation plea noting that the allegations of the magazine are prima facie defamatory and referred to Vivek and therefore, he was an aggrieved person. In his complaint, Vivek had said the magazine and Ramesh had attempted to deliberately malign and defame him to settle scores with his father. The Caravan had alleged that Vivek Doval, runs a hedge fund in the Cayman Islands which is an established tax haven. Vivek, in his complaint, has also said that Ramesh had held a press conference on January 17 reiterating the baseless and unfounded facts as narrated in the article. On February 11, two witnesses – Nikhil Kapur and Amit Sharma – had given court statements in support of the defamation complaint, saying the published article, and subsequent use of its content by Ramesh, had resulted in huge unrest among investors of Viveks firm. Vivek had recorded his statement on January 30 before the court, saying all allegations were baseless and false and damaged his reputation in the eyes of family members and professional colleagues. According to the complaint filed by him, the contents of the article present no illegality on his part, but the entire narration has been presented in a manner, which suggests wrongdoings to readers. The complaint said the article has been used as a political tool to foster in unscrupulous hands to seek vendetta and wreak vengeance.