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Jaitley’s claim of possessing high public character ‘frivolous and unsustainable’: Arvind Kejriwal

DELHI,RITIKA JAIN, AMRITA NAYAK DUTTA: Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal filed a scathing reply in the high court in response to a defamation suit lodged against him by Union finance minister Arun Jaitley stating that “the plaintiff’s (Jaitley) claim that he enjoys and in fact possesses high public character is a totally frivolous and unsustainable claim.” This matter will come up for hearing on February 5.

The strongly-worded reply stated that Jaitley had no public character to defend since, despite the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party enjoying popularity, the minister lost the Amritsar elections (as a candidate in 2014) by more than 1,00,000 votes.

The 2000-page response declared that the defendant (Kejriwal) had made statements with “reasonable cause and firm belief in its truth.” He also stated that “This is not a suit for injury to his private character, but to his public character, if at all.”

In the affidavit, the chief minister — “actively involved in the crusade against corruption,” – gave references to various examples that sought to prove Jaitley’s knowledge of the rampant corruption in the Delhi & District Cricket Association (DDCA) and his complicity in the cover-up and protection of those involved in his capacity as the association’s president which he helmed for 13 years. It cited letters claiming the above sent to Jaitley by senior cricketer and suspended BJP Member of Parliament Kirti Azad, and Bhishan Singh Bedi among others.

Kejriwal went on to assert that the defamation suit claiming Rs 10 crore in damages is nothing but an attempt by the finance minister to browbeat the chief minister into silence. It went on to add that this case served no other purpose other than to “dissuade them from drawing attention to the mismanagement and rampant financial irregularities plaguing the DDCA.”

In the statement, Kejriwal also claimed that Jaitley not only covered for the members of DDCA who were supposedly involved in the corruption but also dissuaded police authorities from investigating the claims.