DDCA Defamation case: How did you estimate damages to be Rs 10 crore, Jethmalani asks Jaitley

Directing a barrage of questions to Jaitley before Joint Registrar (judicial) Rupali Sharma, Jethmalani asked the minister how he had estimated the damages at Rs 10 crore.

Written by Manish Raj | New Delhi | Updated: May 16, 2017 5:17 am
Jethmalani asks Jaitley Finance Minister Arun Jaitley

The Delhi High Court Monday disallowed four questions by advocate Ram Jethmalani in a civil defamation suit filed by Union Minister Arun Jaitley against Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and five AAP leaders seeking Rs 10 crore as damages.

Directing a barrage of questions to Jaitley before Joint Registrar (judicial) Rupali Sharma, Jethmalani asked the minister how he had estimated the damages at Rs 10 crore. “To show your great reputation, which has been injured, are you examining any witness in support of your reputation?”

He then went on to say that as Jaitley was a cabinet minister, “the best character witness” for him would be the Prime Minister. He also asked if Jaitley had consulted the PM before filing the suit. All three questions were disallowed by the court, which said, “The list of witnesses of plaintiff is on record.”

This is the third time the finance minister is being cross-examined by the advocate. He was earlier cross-questioned on March 6 and 7. The court has now listed the matter for further cross-examination on Wednesday .

Kejriwal and the AAP leaders had alleged financial irregularities by Jaitley during his tenure as president of the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA).

Asked if he remembered the meeting where “the proposal for donation for the construction of the stadium and its name were discussed”, Jaitley said during his initial days as DDCA president “a proposal was mooted that a full stadium be constructed at the Feroz Shah Kotla ground”.

“At that time, the income of the association was limited and the Board of Control for Cricket in India used to give only Rs 4 crore as infrastructure grant for construction of the stadium. Members, therefore, brought various proposals wherein the money could be donated either by some business house or the government. However, ultimately the association created a new model under which naming rights of various blocks and corporate boxes could provide adequate funding to start the construction. This is how the stadium was finally constructed and its historical name, ‘Feroz Shah Kotla’, retained,” he said.

The senior advocate then asked Jaitley about the Rs 22 crore offer to name the stadium after Dhirubhai Ambani, and another proposal from the government offering to pay all expenses if the stadium was named after Shyama Prasad Mookerjee.

Jaitley said some oral suggestions, without any firm proposal, were made, but they never materialised. The DDCA then decided to build the stadium on the basis of resources it mobilised on its own, he said.

“To the best of my knowledge, government funds to be allotted to any association needs a budgetary sanction from Parliament. There has never been a budgetary proposal to give government funds for funding stadiums of private associations,” he said.

Jethmalani then suggested that Jaitley imposed the decision on the DDCA to not accept any donation either from a private or a government donor, as he did not want any interference in the association’s spending.

Stating that “the suggestion was wrong in its entirety,” Jaitley said, “To ensure probity in spending, the contact for construction of stadium , through a bidding process, was awarded to a public sector organisation (Engineering Projects India Ltd).”

The advocate said the matter with the government could have been “easily resolved by you talking to your colleagues in government (in 2003 when BJP government was in power)”.

“I would have never done so since it would be a terrible precedent for a minister… to persuade his own government to spend funds on a private body, of which he is the president,” Jaitley replied.

Asked about the “factual controversy” of Rs 57 crore — which had been “corruptly misappropriated and shown as expenses” — Jaitley said the money/funds was spent “on creation of sports infrastructure and assets”.

Stating that a Rs 25-crore contract was given to EPIL initially, Jethmalani asked if a tender system was followed for the remaining amount of Rs 90 crore. Jaitley answered that he was not dealing with the construction directly.

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  1. A
    Aam Admi
    May 16, 2017 at 4:20 pm
    We want Jethmalani to give basis for charging such a ridiculously high fees. And after charging this ridiculously high fees he comes with such performance in court. I fail to understand how people engage such stupid lawyers in court. How did he become a SC judge . He is not worth 10000
    Reply
    1. A
      Aam Admi
      May 16, 2017 at 4:17 pm
      Budha satiya a hai. Stupid Jethmalani is getting old and is now raising frivolous questions. Can Jethmalani tell on what basis he charged 2 crore to Kujliwal for the case. If for fighting his case he thinks 2 crore is peanuts, then 10 crore should go unchallenged. In Jaitly should have asked for more say 100 crores of which Jethmalani should pay 10crores for asking foolish question and wasting courts time.
      Reply
      1. V
        Valentin C
        May 16, 2017 at 3:17 pm
        Perhaps Kejriwal would tone down his utterances in future. Making wild allegations against others and expecting his Government to foot the legal bill in defending himself is, to put it mildly, not an act of integrity. Ironically, he is at the receiving end now with his former minister making similar allegations against him. I suddenly have a lot of belief in the age old saying --as you sow, so you reap--.
        Reply
        1. s
          stud.
          May 16, 2017 at 2:55 pm
          nic equestion in examination
          Reply
          1. P
            Parth Garg
            May 16, 2017 at 2:30 pm
            Jaitley must have used the same tactic of asking whenever he appeared in a case as a lawyer. He is facing the same predicament.
            Reply
            1. P
              Pinna
              May 16, 2017 at 11:30 am
              At an old age, the man becomes a child and starts asking childish questions.OK. the damage could be a rupee less or more, it is not pertinent., but how come Jethmalani set his appearance fee at 55 lakhs and why not a rupee less or more?
              Reply
              1. K
                karol
                May 16, 2017 at 10:56 am
                How did Mr. Jethmalani evaluate himself for couple of crore fees charges, for fighting the case. Its all trash and waste of precious Judicial time. Better devote the precious judiciary time for other cases which r in q since long. The unwarranted arguments are simply a waste of time and legal hypocracy, which should be avoided.
                Reply
                1. S
                  SKB
                  May 16, 2017 at 9:37 am
                  I had great respect for Mr. Jethmalani, But the day he started fighting for Mr. Corrupt, He lost all my respect.
                  Reply
                  1. D
                    Darkhorse
                    May 16, 2017 at 10:18 am
                    Is it for corrupt or against corrupt
                    Reply
                    1. A
                      Aam Admi
                      May 16, 2017 at 4:21 pm
                      He fights for corrupt. For him money matters
                    2. M
                      mereawaaz
                      May 16, 2017 at 11:18 am
                      keep u r respect with u ,, let the corruption of BJP come out ! let the world know how BJP operate ! no one is innocent here ! what matters is how much corruption he has done and to what extent the damage is ! slowly and steadly we indian has come to conclusion that a small amount of corruption is allowed by virtue of being in politics,,,no matter which party u belong ,,, bjp is not an exception,,,,just wait and watch ,,,someone someday bjp will run out of luck ,,,,every dog has a day ...
                      Reply
                      1. S
                        SANKAR
                        May 16, 2017 at 5:55 pm
                        DOG LIKE YOU WILL NEVER HAVE A DAY...CHANGE YOUR MINDSET.......NOR GOT TO IN THE NAME.... OF YOU NO WELL........................ITS GOOD OR BAD YOU PEOPLE LIKE YOU WILL ALWAYS HAVE PROBLEM....SHOOT AT SIGHT... WITH YOU
                        1. B
                          bitterhoney
                          May 16, 2017 at 8:40 pm
                          I totally agree with you sir.
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