The Delhi High Court on Thursday granted time to Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Kumar Vishwas to decide on his final statement to dispose of the defamation suit filed against him by Union Minister Arun Jaitley in the Delhi District Cricket Administration (DDCA) row. The court has slated the next hearing for May 28.
While addressing the court, Vishwas told Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw that his statements against Jaitley were based on inputs received from party chief Kejriwal. “I am personally not interested in going ahead with the case,” the AAP leader said, adding he was only repeating what Kejriwal had said.
The dissident AAP leader also said he regretted any injury or damage which was caused by his remarks to Jaitley. He sought time from the court to decide what statement he will make so that the suit can be disposed off.
Earlier this month, the court had closed the cases against Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and four AAP leaders — Raghav Chadha, Sanjay Singh, Ashutosh and Deepak Bajpai — after the five of them rendered an apology and moved a joint settlement plea against the Rs 10-crore defamation suit filed against them by the Union minister. The court, however, said the defamation suit against Vishwas will continue as he had not offered to settle the matter.
“Counsel for plaintiff says defendent 1 (Kejriwal) has withdrawn all allegations and since defendent 4 (Vishwas) has relied on the written statement of Kejriwal, the allegations do not survive qua Kumar Vishwas. Let defendent 4 (Vishwas) appear in person on May 3,” Justice Endlaw had said.
The court also noted the submission of Jaitley’s counsel that if Vishwas prefers to cross examine him, it could be done through video conferencing.
Jaitley had filed a civil defamation suit in December 2015, claiming Rs 10 crore in damages from Kejriwal and the five AAP functionaries. In May 2017, when Kejriwal’s then counsel Jethmalani allegedly made scandalous remarks against Jaitley during cross-examination, the minister filed a second defamation suit of Rs 10 crore against the CM.
Further, Jaitley had in December 2015 lodged a criminal defamation case against the AAP functionaries for their remarks related to alleged financial irregularities in the DDCA. In this case, too, a joint application was moved to settle the matter, and was allowed by Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Samar Vishal on the ground that Kejriwal had apologised to Jaitley.