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Arrest warrants issued against Medha Patkar

Arrest warrants issued against Medha Patkar

Author: RK Misra
Publication: The Pioneer
Date: January 29, 2009
URL: http://www.dailypioneer.com/152867/Arrest-warrants-issued-against-Medha-Patkar.html

A warrant for the arrest of Narmada Bachao Andolan leader Medha Patkar has been issued after she failed to honour summons by the Metropolitan Court in Ahmedabad. The court has directed the police to arrest and produce her before him on February 27.

Metropolitan Magistrate RG Chaudhary issued the warrant on Tuesday against Patkar in a defamation case filed by VK Saxena, the president of the National Council for Civil Liberties.

The court issued bailable warrants after Patkar and her advocate failed to appear even after being given four opportunities by the court. Earlier, summons were issued on August 14 last year which were served on her a week later at Badwani in MP. Her lawyer had appeared in court on September 26 and sought time.

Thereafter, the court gave four opportunities when neither Patkar nor her lawyer appeared,the Court directed the police inspector, Badwani to "arrest the accused and produce before him on 27/02/09".

The sequence of events was kickstarted in a TV news channel interview wherein the NBA leader alleged that the NCCL head's opposition was guided by the "civil contracts flowing to him from the the Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam" and that she was ready to prove it anytime. The interview was telecast on April 20, 2006 and was immediately denied in the same programme. Saxena also challenged her to provide evidence to back her allegations.

Subsequently, Saxena sent a legal notice to Medha Patkar on April 29, 2006 and called upon her to prove her allegations. Despite service of the legal notice she failed to provide any evidence.

Saxena, thereafter, filed a defamation case against Patkar on June 29, 2006 under Section 499 & 500 of IPC in the Ahmedabad metropolitan magistrate's court.

The court after watching the footage of the TV programme, directed the Navrangpura Police in Ahmedabad to investigate the case. The SSNL chairman, in a letter dated September 30, 2006 to Navrangpura police station confirmed that "VK Saxena neither in his personal capacity nor as president of National Council for Civil Liberties ever applied to the Nigam for the award of any civil contract or for any supply contract in the past nor the Nigam has ever given civil or any other contract to him or to his NGO."
Navrangpura police inspector DA Desai also submitted in his report to the court that even after being giving seven opportunities, the NBA leader failed to come and record her statement. The cop even professed his readiness to got to Badwani in MP to record her statement but in vain.

The court found prima facie case against Patkar and passed detailed order for summoning her on August 14 last year.

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