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Delhi High Court orders four AAP leaders to remove defamatory content against BJP leader Shyam Jaju and his son, not to make further allegations

The AAP leaders had alleged that Shyam Jaju's Sandesh Jaju was involved with a company linked with some questionable transitions, but the plea said that Sandesh Jaju resigned from the company and sold its shares before the transactions took place

The Delhi High Court on Friday ordered AAP leaders Saurabh Bhardwaj, Sanjay Singh, Durgesh Pathak and Dilip Kumar Pandey to take down defamatory allegations made against former BJP vice president Shyam Jaju and his son Sandesh Jaju from social media platforms. In an interim order in a defamation case filed by Shyam Jaju and Sandesh Jaju, the court also restrained the AAP leaders from making any further allegations against the father-son duo.

Hearing the matter, the bench of Justice Navin Chawla said that there is a prima facie case for granting interim relief to the petitioners. The defamation suit was filed by Jaju and his son responding to allegations made against them by the AAP leaders at a press conference held on 22 January.

They had alleged that Delhi BJP leader Adesh Gupta and Shyam Jaju’s son Sandesh Jaju are earning illegal money through a company named Majboot Solutions Private Limited. Addressing the press conference, AAP leader Saurabh Bhardwaj had said that when Adesh Gupta was the mayor of MCD from April 2018 to 2019, he had formed this company, and he and Shyam Jaju’s sons were equal partners and directors in this company.

The AAP leader alleged that Adesh Gupta misused the power of the mayor to buy and sell a lot of property through the company. Delhi Lokayukta had launched a probe after a lawyer lodged a complaint, and several notices were issued to Gupta in this regard but he didn’t respond, they further alleged.

Apart from the press conference which was covered by media and streamed by AAP’s social media handles on various platforms including YouTube and Twitter, the AAP leaders had also posted tweets making the allegations.

Following this, Shyam Jaju and his son Sandesh Jaju, a Chartered Accountant, filed a plea against the AAP leaders seeking a permanent and mandatory injunction on the statements made by the AAP leaders. They contended that the statements are ex facie false and unsubstantiated, per se defamatory, slanderous and libellous.

According to the petition, while Sandesh Jaju was a director and shareholder of the company, he had resigned from the post of director in December 2018, within just three months of the incorporation of the Company. After that, he transferred his entire shareholding in the company to Adesh Gupta’s son Yash Gupta in November 2019. The plea said that till the time Jaju was involved with the company, no financial deals were done by the company. Therefore, he is not involved in the transactions done after his exit from the company.

The AAP leaders pointed out transactions done in dates 05.02.2021, 25.02.2021, 04.03.2021 and 16.06.2021 to allege misdeeds. Therefore, it is clear that these dates of the transactions mentioned by the AAP leaders are after Sandesh Jaju left the company.

The AAP leaders had also alleged that the address of the company was 11-A, Ashoka Road, New Delhi, which means the company was running from the BJP headquarters in Delhi. But the plea states that a bare perusal of the certificate of incorporation of the Company will show that the registered address of the Company as on the date of incorporation was 9918/5, 4th Floor, Multani Dhanda, Paharganj, Delhi – 110 055.

The plea further said that Shaym Jaju has not received any notice from the Lokayukta, as alleged by the AAP leaders.

The petitioners point out that the dates of financial dealings made by the company, and dates of Sandesh Jaju resigning from the board and then selling his shares are available in relevant records which are publicly available on the website of the Ministry of Corporate Affairs. These records show that he was not involved in any deals done by Majboot Solutions, but despite that, the AAP leaders dragged his and his father’s name into the issue.

The petition also said that the AAP leaders lied while claiming that the company’s office was in BJP headquarters. The company’s data shows that its office was in Paharganj when it was incorporated, and its current address is at West Patel Nagar in West Delhi.

“It is therefore a matter of record as per the public documents of the said company, the registered address of the said company is not at 11 A, Ashoka Road, New Delhi – 110 001, as falsely alleged by the Defendant No. 1 in his Press Conference,” the petition filed by the BJP leader and his son said.

Therefore, Shyam Jaju and his son Sandesh Jaju had filed the plea seeking a permanent and mandatory injunction against the AAP leaders permanently injuncting them from making or publishing or disseminating any further defamatory statements, in any form or manner, in relation to the allegations made in the defamatory press conferences. They further urged the court direct the for AAP leaders to issue or publish an unconditional apology for making the false and defamatory statements.

Moreover, the petitioners also sought that the AAP leaders should pay Rs 5 crore to the “Prime Minister’s Citizen Assistance and Relief in emergency Situations Fund”, and urged the court to award exemplary costs and costs of the suit.

The 403-page petition filed at the Delhi High Court included records of the company as supporting evidence.

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