Bengal court summons Amit Shah in Abhishek Banerjee's defamation case
A special court for MPs and MLAs in West Bengal on Friday issued summons to Union Home Minister Amit Shah in connection with a criminal defamation case filed by Trinamool Congress (TMC) MP Abhishek Banerjee. The case pertains to a statement made by the Home Minister in 2018 wherein he accused Banerjee—the nephew of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee—of corruption.
The special court issued summons to Shah to either appear personally or through a representative before the court at 10 am on February 22. "Today the learned magistrate, Special Court West Bengal (MPs and MLA's cases) has issued a summon upon Amit Shah to appear before the learned court on February 22," a statement by advocate Sanjay Basu on Banerjee's behalf stated.
Shah had made the controversial statement on August 11, 2018, while speaking at the Yuva Swabhiman Samavesh Rally organized by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) at Mayo Road in Kolkata. He had alleged that the people of Bengal didn't receive the benefits from central schemes due to corruption by the TMC. He blamed "the nephew," an apparent reference to Banerjee.
According to a submission made in court, Shah had said, "The residents of the village in Bengal. Has the money reached your village? Where did it go? Where? Modi ji has sent it. Where did Rs. 3,59,000 crore go?" "This has been gifted to the nephew and the syndicates. This has been sacrificed at the altar of corruption by the Trinamool Congress," he added.
On August 13, 2018, Banerjee sent a legal notice to Shah demanding an apology for the allegedly defamatory remarks "by making a flimsy and thinly veiled reference and/or insinuation to the 'bhatija' (nephew) of the Hon'ble Chief Minister of the State of West Bengal." Thereafter, on August 28, Banerjee filed a criminal defamation case against Shah under Section 500 of the Indian Penal Code.