Updated: March 16, 2018 7:21:47 am
Moving to get out of a slew of defamation cases in which he is embroiled, AAP leader and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal Thursday apologised in court to former Punjab minister Bikram Singh Majithia for making “unfounded” allegations against him during the run-up to the Punjab assembly polls last year.
AAP sources said Kejriwal hopes to “similarly resolve” the defamation case filed by Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley over the allegations he made regarding Jaitley’s stint as head of the Delhi and District Cricket Association.
AAP spokesperson Saurabh Bhardwaj told The Indian Express: “The party has realised that these ongoing litigations are not helping, and the party will try and resolve all of them.”
In his apology to Majithia, Kejriwal said: “Now I’ve learnt that allegations are unfounded. Hence there should be no politics on such issues. Because of my allegations against you at various political rallies, public meetings, TV programs, print, electronic and social media, you’ve filed a defamation case against us in the Hon’ble Court at Amritsar. I hereby withdraw all my statements and allegations made against you and apologize for the same. The damage cause to your esteem, the hurt caused to your family, friends, well-wishers, followers and the loss caused to you is regretted.”
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But this apology — the second in seven months after he said sorry to BJP’s Avtar Singh Bhadana in a defamation case last August — drew an angry response from the AAP unit of Punjab which slammed the “meek surrender” and said it had rejected the apology.
Sukhpal Kahaira, who is also the Leader of Opposition in Punjab, said he was “appalled and stunned” by the apology to Majithia and had not been consulted by the leadership in Delhi. AAP MLA Kanwar Sandhu called it a “let down”.
In Chandigarh, Majithia called a press conference to thank Kejriwal for his “magnanimity and statesmanship” and distributed copies of the apology submitted by Kejriwal in court.
Brother of Union Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal, Majithia said the apology was submitted in court by AAP leader Ashish Khetan.
“It is perhaps the first time that a sitting Chief Minister has apologised for the remarks he made. Sending someone to jail was not my intention. It was to protect my and my family’s honour. I told my lawyers to withdraw the case after the apology,” Majithia said.
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