Court lets off Amarinder in Dhumal defamation case

Shimla, Aug 24 (IANS) Congress leader Amarinder Singh was Saturday let off by a Himachal Pradesh court here when former chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal of BJP said he did not want to pursue his defamation complaint against the former, a lawyer said.

Taking on record Dhumal's statement, Chief Judicial Magistrate Jyotsna Dadwal dropped the criminal defamation proceedings against Amarinder Singh, said counsel Satyapal Jain, representing Dhumal.

Dhumal said since the former Punjab chief minister had expressed regret for the hurt caused to him, he did not want to press for the trial against him.

The Bharatiya Janata Party leader's defamation compliant against another Congress leader, Motilal Vora, as part of the same case, would continue.

"Dhumal and I have shared cordial relationship. In the course of my speech in Hamirpur Jan 18, 2003 I did not attack Dhumal personally, though I criticised his government," a statement by Amarinder Singh in the court said.

He said that, unfortunately, the speech was incorrectly reported in some newspapers.

"I did not level any personal allegation against Dhumal. The allegations against Dhumal attributed to me in some newspapers are unfounded, and were not made by me. I regret the hurt caused to Dhumal by incorrect reporting in the press," he said.

At this, Dhumal, said that he did not want to pursue the case against Amarinder Singh.

Earlier, Dhumal said, in his complaint, that Amarinder Singh and Vora had levelled against him baseless allegations related to his assets.

The complaint was linked to an election rally in Hamirpur where Amrinder Singh and Vora alleged that Dhumal had amassed assets to the tune of Rs.25 crore through questionable means.

In a separate defamation case filed in 2003, Dhumal sued Anand Sharma, central commerce and industry minister and Congress leader, for releasing a list of assets allegedly owned by Dhumal at a press conference in the state.

The case related to Sharma is pending in the court of Chief Judicial Magistrate Dadwal and listed for hearing Sep 28.

Counsel Jain informed the court that "if both the accused (Vora and Sharma) are ready to regret, then we may consider not to pursue the case against them, otherwise it will be argued".

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