'I intend to file criminal defamation suit against Kejriwal'
In fresh confrontation with Team Anna, Union Minister Virbhadra Singh on Sunday said he intends to file a criminal defamation suit against Arvind Kejriwal while Congress MP Jagdambika Pal has slapped a privilege notice against the activist for allegedly insulting Parliament.
"I intend to file criminal defamation suit," the Union minister for micro, small and medium enterprises said.
Virbhadra Singh figures in the list of 14 ministers against whom Team Anna has demanded registration of FIR and investigation into charges of corruption.
Singh had earlier written a letter to Kejriwal seeking unconditional apology for the "baseless" charges.
A Team Anna member said Kejriwal has received a letter from Virbhadra Singh as well as a breach of privilege notice served on him by Pal.
Apart from Pal, privilege notices were earlier moved by Rajya Sabha members Ramkripal Yadav and Rajneeti Prasad (both RJD) and Lok Sabha MP Sajjan Kumar Verma (Congress) following Kejriwal's March 25 speech at Jantar Mantar during which he raised the issue of 162 people with criminal cases being MPs.
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Image: File image of Union minister Virbhadra Singh
'There is no question of apology'
Kejriwal had struck a defiant note in replying to the privilege notices asking how can he respect the House which has 162 MPs with criminal background.
Denying allegations by four MPs who moved privilege notices against him that he insulted the House, he had said he respects Parliament but noted that it is being insulted by those sitting inside Parliament and not those outside.
Kejriwal on Sunday stuck to his position and said he hadn't said anything wrong.
"I will respond in a week's time. I have not said anything wrong. There is no question of apology," he told
In his letter to Kejriwal, V R Ramesh, joint secretary in Lok Sabha Secretariat's Privileges and Ethics branch has asked the activist to reply to the privilege notice at the earliest.
Pal in his letter to Speaker alleged that Kejriwal's remarks "demeaned the institution of Parliament, its custodian and its members".
"It is shocking that they have not even spared senior of stature and status like Sharad Yadav."
Image: Arvind Kejiwal
Photographs: Sanjay Sawant/Rediff.com
'Character assassination of Parliament casts reflection on them'
"He (Kejriwal) states that while the House did not take note of the death of Narendra Kumar, IPS, it devoted sufficient time discussing on attack on Sharad Pawar.
"In fact, I had raised the matter of death of the officer under Zero hour," Pal said.
"The absurdity, venom, character assassination of Parliament and its members, casts reflection on them," Pal said in his letter.
Pal said the "baseless" charges have been levelled by Kejriwal against Union ministers, MPs labelling them criminals and "even questioning the proceedings" of the House was breach of privilege.
Virbhadra Singh, the veteran Congress leader from Himachal Pradesh, told PTI that he has written a letter to Kejriwal to tender unconditional apology for "maligning" his name and if his reply is not found "satisfactory" he should be prepared to face legal action.
"If good sense prevails on him (Kejriwal) he should tender unconditional apology.... I am waiting for his reply to my letter.... If the reply is not found satisfactory he (Kejriwal) should be prepared to face legal action," Singh said.
Asked for how long he would wait for Kejriwal's response, Singh said he would wait for "reasonable amount of time" before initiating further action.
Image: Congress MP Jagdambika Pal
Photographs: Courtesy: Facebook