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Jethmalani cross-examines Arun Jaitley in civil defamation case against Kejriwal

LiveMint logoLiveMint 06-03-2017 Priyanka Mittal

New Delhi: Finance minister Arun Jaitley was subjected to a four-hour cross-examination on Monday in a civil defamation suit he has brought against Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal in the Delhi high court.

Lawyer Ram Jethmalani put around 50 questions to Jaitley, himself an attorney, during the cross-examination.

Jaitley has sued Kejriwal over allegations of financial irregularities that dated back to the time when the finance minister was president of the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) in the 2000-01 to 2012-13 period.

Jethmalani asked Jaitley to explain why he had not considered filing a suit for slander or libel and had instead chosen to go with a suit for recovery of damages. Jaitley replied that considering the facts in the plaint, it was clear that injury had been caused to his reputation, which formed the basis of the civil defamation case.

He was then asked to explain the “irreparable and unquantifiable loss” he claimed had been done to his reputation by the allegations.

“You filed the suit within six days from the day that the alleged defamatory statements were made against you. In this time, did you make an effort to control the damage failing which you chose to call it irreparable?” Jethmalani asked Jaitley.

Jaitley responded by saying that he had contradicted allegations made against him.

Jethmalani questioned Jaitley over his claim that the damage he suffered was unquantifiable and said, “Was it your own feeling about your greatness that it could not be quantified in fiscal measures? Can you assign any objective reason besides the value you are placing on yourself?”

Holding loss of reputation as the main reason for bringing the suit, Jaitley said that considering his stature and background, the loss caused to him and his reputation was enormous and that it could be considered unquantifiable. He added that the value placed on loss of reputation formed a small part of the damages being claimed in the suit.

Jaitley has sought Rs10 crore in compensation for the alleged defamatory remarks made by Kejriwal and other Aam Aadmi Party members including Raghav Chadha, Kumar Vishwas, Ashutosh, Sanjay Singh and Deepak Bajpai against him and his family. A criminal defamation case on the issue is being heard simultaneously at another forum.

The suits were filed over allegations of financial mismanagement in the DDCA during Jaitley’s 13-year term as president till 2013.

The cross-examination will continue on Tuesday.

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