Finance Minister Arun Jaitley was today subjected to intense grilling for his Rs 10 crore civil defamation suit against Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in the Delhi High Court in which Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s name was sought to be dragged by noted lawyer Ram Jethmalani. Jaitley, who termed the question referring to the Prime Minister as “scandalous”, faced a barrage of questions including selective targetting of Kejriwal when other politicians had also raised the issue of corruption against him in the DDCA.
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Jethmalani, who continued his cross-examination of the Minister for second consecutive day on behalf of Kejriwal, also incurred the displeasure of Joint Registrar Amit Kumar for asking some questions, like he had advised Modi “not to set you (Jaitley) up” as a candidate from Amritsar Lok Sabha seat which he eventually lost in the last elections.
Another question that why Jaitley did not sue former spin wizard Bishan Singh Bedi for raising the issue of graft in Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) which he headed for 13 years, was also disallowed by the Joint Registrar who said under the Civil Procedure Code (CPC), he had every right to allow or reject the question of the counsel.
An upset Jethmalani was left complaining that he was a senior advocate but his questions were being disallowed.
The proceedings which lasted for around two hours saw Jethmalani, who was expelled from BJP for six years in 2013, claiming that Jaitley was allowed to hold his ministry on the promise to the Prime Minister that he will come clean in connection with the irregularities in DDCA.
“The suggestion is denied in its entirety” was Jaitley’s reply, who also said the “Prime Minister had not said anything to him at any point of time. It is incorrect.”
Senior advocates Rajiv Nayar, Sandeep Sethi and Pratibha M Singh, appearing for the Finance Minister, interrupted with one voice when Jethmalani was trying to link the case with the Prime Minister and termed it as “scandalous”.
There was also an exchange of words between Jaitley’s and Kejriwal’s advocates when Jethmalani said the Minister had told the Prime Minister that he will establish his reputation in the court against allegations made against him.
A bunch of lawyers in support of Kejriwal also shouted that the question referring to Prime Minister was “not scandalous” and was linked to the civil defamation suit filed by Jaitley 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 DDCA of which he was the President from 2000 to 2013.