Kejriwal becomes First Delhi CM to be tried for defamation
Following a Delhi court's notice to stand trial in the suit filed by Arun Jaitley, Arvind Kejriwal would become the first Delhi CM to stand trial in a defamation suit. The order comes after a year long war of words and courtroom drama Will Jaitley make Kejriwal pay or can Kejriwal get one over on Jaitley? Let us find out!
The DDCA scam drew attention with BJP leader Kirti Azad discussing the matter in a press conference in 2015. Azad alleged payments worth Rs. 15 crore being made to ghost companies. The Delhi government set up the Sanghi Panel which submitted its report in November 2015. Chetan Sanghi, panel chief noted that he was under pressure from stakeholders to name a certain "VIP".
The lawsuit was filed, in 2015, against Kejriwal and 5 leaders including Kumar Vishwas, Deepak Bajpai and Sanjay Singh, for publishing defamatory statements in media regarding Jaitley's tenure as Delhi District Cricket Association (DDCA) President from December 1999 to December 2013. A civil defamation suit has also been filed with the Delhi HC asking for Rs. 10crore for alleging involvement in irregularities at DDCA.
The Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (CMM) granted bail to Kejriwal, and the co-defendants, following their appearance in the Court, in response to the summons. Following the framing of issues by the Delhi HC, it rejected Kejriwal's plea to stay criminal proceedings . The SC concurred with the lower courts and refused to interfere with the proceedings.
Kejriwal tweeted following the CBI raid in his office, "Why is Jaitley ji so scared of DDCA probe? What is his role in the DDCA scam?". Jaitley was further accused of using his political clout to interfere with the investigation. Statement in response to the lawsuit noted, "the defamation suit was intended to browbeat AAP into silence and dissuade them from raising the issue"
Jaitley contends that the allegations brought "irreparable and unquantifiable damage to his reputation". In his cross examination he noted this was in consideration of his stature and background. He noted that the defamation had been calculated against him and his family members with the ulterior motive of gaining political mileage. He also accused Kejriwal of not possessing "either a reputation or a character".
The CMM directed Kejriwal and co-defendants to appear before 25 March, 2017 as it is likely to issue notice against them. The court also dismissed the defendants' request to be heard before framing of issues. The Delhi HC thrashed Kejriwal's move to access Jaitley's bank details. Around 50 questions were posed to Jaitley in cross examination by Ram Jethmalani, counsel for the defendants.
Following a criminal defamation suit filed by Union Minister Arun Jaitley,Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal along with five AAP leaders including were tried at Tis Hazari on Saturday. The defendants, having pleaded not guilty, were served notice by the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (CMM). The trial is to commence on May 20. The courtroom also bore witness to heated arguments between the counsels on Jailtley's non-appearance.