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Ram Jethmalani gone, Arvind Kejriwal seeks time to find ‘proper representation’, court shoots down request

Arvind Kejriwal and Ram Jethmalani had a falling out over the use of the term ‘crook’ for Arun Jaitley in court.

Ram Jethmalani, Arvind Kejriwal, Arun Jaitley defamation suit, kejriwal defamation suit, jethmalani kejriwal, indian express news Ram Jethmalani (L) alleged Arvind Kejriwal (R) had given him instructions to use the ‘objectionable words’ in court

A city court Saturday rejected a plea by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal seeking adjournment of the criminal defamation case filed against him by Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. The CM had said he was left without ‘proper representation’ after senior counsel Ram Jethmalani refused to represent him. Meanwhile, during the recording of his statement, Jaitley said that Kejriwal’s allegations on ‘irregularities in DDCA’ had “severely impacted my reputation”.

The plea was moved by the CM’s counsel Shadan Farasat, who requested Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Sumit Dass for a “short accommodation”. In response, Jaitley’s lawyer Sidharth Luthra made his submission to the court, stating, “They (Kejriwal and others) choose to spar with their lawyer, which is no ground for adjournment… even the law says no adjournment except ‘beyond your control’ and it cannot be sought because of unavailability of a senior counsel.”

Kejriwal and Jethmalani had a falling out over the use of the term ‘crook’ for Jaitley in court. After Kejriwal said he never instructed Jethmalani to use the word in court, the lawyer alleged the CM had “used worse abuses” for the Union minister. The senior counsel later said he will never appear for Kejriwal in any matter.

During arguments Saturday, Luthra also told the court, “They (AAP leaders) are acting together in defaming, and today they are acting together in delaying.” Kejriwal and other AAP leaders had accused Jaitley of financial irregularities in the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA), of which he was president from 2000 to 2013. This prompted the minister to lodge defamation cases against them.

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Apart from Kejriwal, accused AAP leaders — Ashutosh, Kumar Vishwas and Sanjay Singh — also sought adjournment on the ground that their lawyers were unwell. Two other AAP leaders named in the case are Raghav Chadha and Deepak Bajpai. Their plea was rejected by the court, which went ahead with the recording of Jaitley’s statement. However, it granted exemption to Kejriwal from making a personal appearance.

Jaitley said that matters related to the financials of the DDCA were handled by the treasurer. “The allegations that I have been responsible for embezzling of funds for construction of the stadium are false. Neither I dealt with the financials, nor have I accepted any amount from DDCA either directly or indirectly. I never even charged money that I personally incurred…,” said Jaitley.

He also said that the accused had alleged an association between him and a company, run by one Lokesh Sharma from the association. “Neither me, nor my children have any connection with the company… It (the allegations) adversely impacted my reputation. Several of my friends and well wishers spoke to me to inquire about the veracity of the accusation,” he said.

First published on: 06-08-2017 at 06:25:17 am
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