Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s lawyer Anoop George Chaudhari, who had replaced senior lawyer Ram Jethmalani in a defamation case filed by Union minister Arun Jaitley against the CM, quit on Friday, saying he was put in an “embarrassing situation” due to inadequate briefing. Chaudhari wrote to Kejriwal’s counsel Anupam Srivastav, asking him to convey his “inability to appear any further in the case”.
In his letter, Chaudhari said, “This is to inform you that I shall no longer be able to appear for Defendant No. 1, Arvind Kejriwal, and am withdrawing from the case due to inadequate briefing, which resulted in an embarrassing situation before Justice Endlaw on February 12. In spite of being aware of Justice Endlaw’s judgment disallowing suggestions being put to the witness in civil matters, questions were prepared by you which contained numerous suggestions to be put to Mr Jaitley.” Jethmalani had quit in July 2017 alleging that Kejriwal had lied about not instructing him to ask “scandalous” questions to Jaitley in court — a charge denied by the AAP leader.
Kejriwal had faced a fresh Rs 10 crore defamation suit by Jaitley after Jethmalani had used “scandalous words” while cross-examining the BJP leader. “The order passed by another bench (Justice Manmohan) in appeal with regard to summoning of DDCA minute book was not brought to my knowledge. (This order was shown for the first time to me in court during the case on February 12). This order seals your option of summoning of DDCA minute book, Justice Endlaw observed this on the last date. Because of this lackadaisical and casual approach in briefing, the defendant is bound to suffer and I most certainly would not like to be a party to it,” states the letter.
On February 20, the court is scheduled to record Jaitley’s evidence in the Rs 10 crore defamation suit filed by him against Kejriwal and five other Aam Aadmi Party leaders — Raghav Chadha, Kumar Vishwas, Sanjay Singh, Ashutosh and Deepak Bajpai — who had alleged financial irregularities in the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) when Jaitley was its president. The charges have been denied by Jaitley. The Delhi government spokesperson did not comment on the issue.