New Delhi: A Bhopal court on Thursday issued an arrest warrant against Union Water Resources Minister Uma Bharti over her repeated failure to appear in court in connection with a defamation case filed against her by former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Digvijaya Singh in 2003.

Bhopal additional district judge (ADJ) Ram Kumar Chaubey stayed the arrest warrant against the minister rejecting the plea by Bharti’s counsel seeking a trial without the presence of the accused.

In February, Digvijaya Singh recorded his statement in court while Uma Bharti repeatedly failed to appear in court.

On Thursday, the CJM issued a non-bailable arrest warrant when Bharti’s counsel yet again demanded her exemption from presence.

In 2003, Digvijay filed a defamation case after Uma Bharti alleged that the senior Congress amassed crores of rupees during his tenure as the state chief minister between 1993 and 2003.