Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Tuesday arrived in Delhi court to record his statement in a defamation case he had filed against the Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal and five other AAP leaders in December.
His decision to file defamation had come hours after Kejriwal government had announced it was forming a probe panel headed by renowned lawyer Gopal Subramanium to investigate corruption in Delhi District Cricket Association.
Jaitley was the president of the Delhi cricket body for over a decade, during which period the alleged corruption took place.
On Tuesday, Jaitley told the court that the Delhi CM and his colleagues had defamed him and his family through wrong statements.
He said, “All 6 accused in the complaint have made/published statements which are false and defamatory. Their acts attracted adverse public comments and made my reputation discriminatory in public at large. Raghav Chadha by re-tweeting tweets of Arvind Kejriwal and others has defamed my image in public. They defamed me on twitter,facebook and social media.”
Following are his statements made in Patiala House so far;
- Cricket stadium was built during my tenure, the board of directors DDCA had authorized committee to supervise construction
- I was not a member of that committee charged with the task
- Kejriwal said that money has been siphoned off and Jaitley is the beneficiary of the same. It’s false
With this he concluded his statement in the court. The court has now deferred the next hearing till 6 February.
Among Jaitley’s witnesses are also some of media personalities including the India TV owner, Rajat Sharma, journalist Swapan Dasgupta and Hindustan Times manager.
Sharma, whose friendship with Jaitley spans over four decades too recorded his statement in favour of the finance minister.
He reportedly told the court as reported by DNA, “Deeply disturbed about the nature of the false allegations made against him (Jaitley) and being in the media..aware that such allegations can cause harm and destroy the reputation of any respectable person.”
Media was not allowed to enter the court room.
Kejriwal is being represented by the eminent Supreme Court lawyer Ram Jethmalani. Based on Jaitley’s statements, the court will decide if the AAP leaders and the Delhi chief minister will be summoned.
It is expected that Jethmalani will cross question the finance minister. Analysts say that Jaitley as a senior union minister being cross examined by Jethmalani will be embarrassing.
Jethmalani, who is also a Rajya Sabha MP on BJP ticket, has been extremely critical of Jaitley.
Suspended BJP MP and former India cricketer, Kirti Azad has been leading the battle against the rampant corruption in DDCA. He had challenged Jaitley to file a defamation case against him, a statement that contributed to his suspension from the saffron party.
Besides Kejriwal, other AAP MLAs who Jaitley has filed defamation case against are Kumar Vishwas, Sanjay Singh, Ashutosh, Raghav Chadha and Deepak Bajpai.