While Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and four AAP leaders, led by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, filed a joint application in the Delhi High Court to settle the ongoing defamation case — Kumar Vishwas, the fifth AAP leader accused in the case, remained adamant that he “would not apologise”.
The party has maintained that it is looking to sort out all legal cases, beginning with former Punjab minister Bikram Singh Majithia, Amit Sibal — son of former union minister Kapil Sibal — and Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari. Jaitley had filed a civil defamation suit in December 2015 claiming Rs 10 crore as damages; he had also lodged a criminal defamation case against Kejriwal for his remarks relating to alleged irregularities in the DDCA.
Vishwas has remained critical since the earlier spate of apologies. “I have been regularly dropping my shows to attend several court hearings related to 2013, 2014 and 2015 poll campaigns without any legal assistance from AAP. Another one pending tomorrow and I (have) been again engaging my personal lawyers for this. Will carry on this fight. Jai Hind,” he had written on Twitter.
On Monday, Vishwas maintained, “I will not apologise”. One of the founders of the AAP, who has, for the past year, drifted away from the party leadership, particularly Kejriwal, Vishwas argued that such an apology would imply him betraying the party’s volunteers.
“In Punjab, lakhs of pamphlets were distributed and then you (Arvind Kejriwal) suddenly decide to apologise. Arun Jaitley will accept your apology. But what about the cases against our party workers,” he said.
Vishwas maintained that at least 11,000 party workers in AAP had cases pending against them — something, the party denied. He said, “My request to the party is that the legal cell of the party should be activated, and cases against 11,000 party workers should be sorted out first.”
Earlier in January, Rural Development Minister Gopal Rai had accused Vishwas of “attempting to topple the Delhi government after the MCD polls”. Moreover, since Vishwas was overlooked during nominations for Rajya Sabha seats, all channels of communication with him have stopped, said party leaders.
Meanwhile, a close aide of Vishwas said, “We were aware that this was what AAP leaders wanted. But Kumar (Vishwas) was always clear that there was no question of an apology.”