In a visible setback to Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, senior lawyer Anoop George Chaudhari, has decided to withdraw from the defamation case, filed by Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.
Earlier, veteran Supreme Court lawyer, Ram Jethmalani, too had decided to not represent the Delhi chief minister in the same case.
In a letter addressed to Anup Srivastava, the instructing counsel, Chaudhari wrote, “This is to to inform you that I shall no longer be able to appear for Defendant No. 1 Arvind Kejriwal and am withdrawing from the case due to inadequate briefing which resulted in an embarrassing situation before Justice Endlaw on 12th of February. Inspite of being aware of Justice Endlaw’s judgement disallowing suggestions being put to the witness in civil matters, questions were prepared by you which contained numerous suggestions to be put to Mr Jaitley. The order passed by Justice Manmohan in appeal in regard to summing (summoning) of DDCA minute book, was not brought to my knowledge (this order was shown for the first time to me in court during the case on 12th Feb.) This order seals your option of summoning of DDCA minute book, Justice Endlaw observed this on the last date. Because of this lackadaisical & casual approach in briefing, the defendant is bound to suffer and I most certainly would not like to be a party to it.
“Please convey to the client Mr Kejriwal my inability to appear any further in the case.”
The Delhi High Court on 5 February agreed to entertain Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s plea asking for two DDCA documents for cross-examining Jaitley in connection with the defamation suit filed by the latter against AAP leaders.
The High Court, however, had declined to entertain Kejriwal’s request asking for the entire minutes of meetings of the cricket body between 1999 and 2013 to be made available.
Kejriwal had hired noted Supreme Court lawyer, Ram Jethmalani, who had referred to Jaitley as a ‘crook’ prompting the finance minister to threaten to file another defamation suit. Kejriwal had later denied having ever instructed Jethmalani to use the term ‘crook’ for Jaitley. This had led to fissures between the Delhi chief minister and Jethmalani with the latter quitting as Kejriwal’s counsel in the case.
Senior Counsel Anoop George Chaudhari quits as @ArvindKejriwal lawyer in the @arunjaitley defamation case. Blames bad briefing which led to embarrassment before the court during cross examination pic.twitter.com/sdljzm8jOM
— Bar & Bench (@barandbench) February 16, 2018