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Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has filed another defamation suit against Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. A second 10 crore defamation suit has been filed after Kejriwal’s counsel, Ram Jethmalani, made some unsavoury remarks against him during the cross examination.
Touted by many as the second most powerful man in the BJP government at the Centre, Jaitley had earlier filed civil and criminal defamation cases against Kejriwal and other members of the Aam Aadmi Party after allegations of corruption were made regarding Jaitley’s tenure as the DDCA President.
After the heated exchange during the last hearing, Senior Advocate Ram Jethmalani had called Jaitley “a crook“ in the Delhi High Court before Joint Registrar Deepali Sharma.
In light of those remarks, the newly instituted suit states,
“In the said Prior Suit, during cross-examination…the Plaintiff has been subjected to numerous questions, terminologies/statements that are ex facie abusive, malicious, offensive, irrelevant and slanderous.
On 17.05.2017 during the cross examination of the Plaintiff in the said Prior Suit, the Senior Advocate representing the Defendant herein referred to the Plaintiff as ‘crook’. This statement is not only false, baseless, malicious and abusive, but is per se defamatory.”
The suit also mentions that Jethmalani had categorically stated that he used the word ‘crook’ after having a meeting with his client in the absence of the AoR. It further states,
“It is apparent that Defendant possesses immense personal malice against the Plaintiff. It is also evident that the Defendant possessing malicious intent has also attempted to gain cheap political mileage, with ulterior motive and malafide design, by causing further damage to the impeccable reputation of the Plaintiff…
…As such, the Defendant has made himself liable for irreversible and uncountable damage caused to the Plaintiff and is liable to compensate the Plaintiff by a sum of Rs.10 Crores. The Plaintiff also reserves the right to initiate any criminal action for the commission of offences, as may be advised.”
During the cross examination, Jethmalani also said,
“I intend to prove that this man (Arun Jaitley) has no reputation whatsoever…He is guilty of crimes and crookery.”
The Finance Minister immediately retorted by questioning whether these phrases were used under the instructions of the defendants and if that was so, he would aggravate the charges against them.
Jethmalani, who has held various ministries in previous BJP governments, replied that he had the consent of his clients to make the controversial statements.
Senior Advocates Rajiv Nayyar and Sandeep Sethi, appearing for Jaitley, had termed the cross examination as “scandalous” and entered into verbal altercations with Jethmalani several times.
Counsel of the Finance Minister had also pleaded that all controversial statements must be put on record so that they could aggravate the charges against the defendants.
The cross examination was, however, deferred at the request of Anupam Srivastava, counsel on record for Kejriwal, who also stated that there were no direct instructions to Jethmalani to make such remarks against Jaitley.