The Arun Jaitley–Arvind Kejriwal defamation war intensified today with the Union minister filing a fresh Rs 10 crore suit against the Delhi Chief Minister over an objectionable word used in court by Kejriwal’s counsel Ram Jethmalani last week.
Jaitley filed the case against Kejriwal in Delhi High Court over the word “crook” used by Jethlamalani while the senior lawyer was cross-examining, which had to be stopped after an intense verbal duel broke out between the once-close legal associates.
Jaitley’s lawyer Manik Dogra told India Today, “We have filed a fresh suit for defamation against Arvind Kejriwal seeking Rs 10 crore in damages for ex-facie defamation as his lawyer Ram Jethmalani, in the open court, called Mr Jaitley a crook.”
Dogra added that the statement by Jethmalani was recorded in the judicial order, where he had stated that he used the words on “specific instructions of his client” Kejriwal.
The fresh defamation suit by Jaitley will now be a separate case from the ongoing defamation suit against Kejriwal and five other Aam Aadmi Party leaders, also of Rs 10 crore.
Last week, the Delhi High Court saw Jaitley losing his cool when Jethmalani, 93, used the word “crook” to describe him. Jaitley, who appeared before Joint Registrar Deepali Sharma, asked Jethmalani whether the word was used as per instructions from Kejriwal.
Jethmalani replied back, saying the said word has been used by him on instructions from his client (Kejriwal). “If this is so, I would aggravate the charges against the defendant (Kejriwal),” said an upest Jaitley, adding there was a limit to personal malice.
However, Anupam Srivastav, advocate on record for Kejriwal since the beginning of the suit, submitted that Jathmalani had no instructions to use the word against Jaitley.
Jethmalani went on to say that in a suit for defamation, the personal character of the plaintiff is extremely important. “I am conducting a case, wherein I intend to prove that he (Jaitley) has no reputation whatsoever. This man does not even deserve a paisa from this suit against the defendants,” he added.
In December 2015, Jaitley had filed the first civil defamation suit seeking Rs 10 crore damages from Kejriwal and five other AAP leaders – Raghav Chadha, Kumar Vishwas, Ashutosh, Sanjay Singh and Deepak Bajpai – for accusing him of financial irregularities in the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) of which he was the President from 2000 t