A court here on Thursday rejected the discharge application filed by Shiv Sena (UBT) president Uddhav Thackeray and party MP Sanjay Raut in a defamation case filed against them by the rival Shiv Sena faction leader Rahul Shewale.
In his complaint, Shewale has accused them of publishing defamatory articles against him in Sena (UBT) mouthpiece “Saamana”.
While Thackeray is the editor of “Saamana”, Raut is its executive editor. Shewale is the group leader of Chief Minister Eknath Shinde-led Shiv Sena in the Lok Sabha.
The plea filed by former Maharashtra chief minister Thackeray and Rajya Sabha member Raut seeking discharge in the case was rejected by the metropolitan magistrate (Mazgaon court) S B Kale. The court’s detailed order was not yet available.
The court adjourned the matter till November 9 for recording of the evidence.
Shewale has sought action against the two leaders under the Indian Penal Code sections 500 (punishment for defamation) and 501 (printing or engraving matter knowing it to be defamatory) for publishing “defamatory” articles against him in the Marathi and Hindi editions of “Saamana”.
Thackeray and Raut, in their discharge application, had said that there was no iota of evidence against them. They claimed to be innocent and said they were “falsely implicated in the alleged offence based on suspicion”.
Shewale, in his complaint filed in January this year through advocate Chitra Salunke, objected to the articles with the headline “Rahul Shewale has hotel, real estate business in Karachi” published on December 29, 2022.
“The complainant strongly refuted all the allegations made in the said articles and categorically stated that this is merely a feeble attempt to damage the reputation and political career of the complainant by levelling false accusations against him to malign his image before the public at large,” his plea said.
The articles were a “concocted story”, “devoid of any merits” and a classic example of “vendetta journalism”, it added.