A special court for MPs and MLAs has summoned Union Home Minister Amit Shah to appear before it in connection with a defamation case filed by Trinamool Congress (TMC) MP Abhishek Banerjee. The case relates to allegations made by Shah against Banerjee, who is the nephew of West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee.
The special judge of MP/MLA court at Bidhannagar asked Amit Shah to appear in person or through pleader in the court on February 22. The order issued by the court said that Amit Shah’s attendance either personally or through a lawyer is necessary to answer to a charge of defamation under section 500 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
The Trinamool MP had filed the defamation case following certain allegations were made against him by Shah during a BJP rally on 11th August 2018 at Mayo Road in Kolkata. The defamation suit says that Amit Shah had said, “… Narada, Sarada, Rose Valley, Syndicate’s Corruption, Nephew’s corruption, a series of corruption has been by Mamataji.”
The then BJP president had also said in another rally, “The Centre has given Rs 3.59 lakh crores to the state but the amount did not reach the grassroots and ended up with bhatija and syndicates.”
Following the speeches by Shah, Banerjee had sent a legal notice to Amit Shah, asking to apologise within 72 hours or face legal action. Subsequently, a criminal defamation suit was filed against Amit Shah by Abhishek Banerjee in August 2018. Banerjee had vehemently denied the allegations made against him, sought an apology, and also sought that Shah must desist from making or circulating defamatory statements against Banerjee.
In May 2019, Abhishek Banerjee had also sent a defamation notice to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, alleging that the PM made “wildly fabricated allegations” against him at a rally in West Bengal. He had sent a legal notice to the PM, demanding unconditional apology within 36 hours. In the speech in Diamond Harbour, PM Modi had remarked that West Bengal was going through a “torturous period under the bua-bhatija rule”.