The Delhi High Court on Wednesday will continue the hearing in the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) defamation case filed by Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley against Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and other leaders of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), news agency ANI reported. According to ANI, counsel for the Delhi CM and senior advocate Ram Jethmalani will continue with the cross-examination of Jaitley, which would be the fourth such instance in the case.
Earlier on Monday, Jethmalani posed a total of 42 questions in a two-hour questioning session of the Finance Minister. In previous hearings, Jaitley had explained his reasons to sue Kejriwal specifically and not the others involved in the case.
“Mr Kejriwal has committed a serious act of libel and malicious also, by alleging that my wife and daughter are linked to fake companies. It was not only false, but, taking public discourse to a very low level,” Jaitley was quoted as saying by ANI.
“Many people on the social media make irresponsible statements about the people in public life, but, when a chief minister endorses them, it becomes a grave and serious matter. Even false allegations gain credibility. Repetition of libelous statement gives me a cause of action against the person particularly if he has stature, to take action against the justified person,” he reportedly said.
According to ANI, Jethmalani referred to Jaitley’s defeat in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections and asked him whether “that was the first time he was putting his reputation at test in a democracy”. Jaitley responded saying that the result was an outcome of “several factors in the constituency” and not merely a test of reputation, ANI reported.
In Monday’s questioning, Jethmalani reportedly asked Jaitley whether he had any enmity with former cricketer Bishan Singh Bedi.
“I have no personal animosity against Bishan Bedi, but, I cannot say whether he has any animosity against me,” Jaitley responded to the question.
With regards to allegations of financial bungling in DDCA, Jaitley on Monday said, “This letter by Bishan Bedi was written in 2015, even though I had ceased to be the president of DDCA in 2013. I strongly deny the contents of this letter in so far as they pertain to me.”
Jaitley was also asked whether he was aware of the fact that the Delhi government had was mulling over the appointment of a commission of inquiry in respect to some matters related with the DDCA. To that the Finance Minister said that he had no interest in the activities of the DDCA since he had left the post of the association’s president in 2013.
Arun Jaitley in the defamation suit that he had filed, sought Rs 10 crore in damages following allegations by Arvind Kejriwal and five other AAP leaders who had accused him of “irregularities and financial bungling” in the DDCA, of which he was the president for about 13 years until 2013. Jaitley had filed a criminal defamation case against Kejriwal and others in the Patiala while a civil defamation case was filed in the Delhi High Court as well.