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Ram Jethmalani to defend Arvind Kejriwal free of cost in defamation case

LiveMint logoLiveMint 04-04-2017 Livemint

New Delhi: Senior lawyer Ram Jethmalani on Tuesday said he will not charge Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal in the defamation case filed by finance minister Arun Jaitley if the former is not able to pay his bills, a news agency reported.

“Even if (Delhi) government doesn’t pay or he can’t pay, I will appear for free, will treat him (Kejriwal) as one of my poor clients,” ANI quoted Jethmalani as saying.

Arun Jaitley filed a criminal defamation case against Kejriwal over allegations the Delhi chief minister raised over the administration of the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA). Jaitley headed DDCA for over a decade.

The finance minister had also filed a civil defamation before the Delhi High Court and sought Rs10 crore as damages.

Jethmalani’s statement on fighting pro-bono for Kejriwal comes a day after Lt. governor Anil Baijal is learnt to have sought Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar’s advice in clearing the bills that amount to Rs3.42 crore.

The move by Baijal comes after the Law Department of the Delhi government, responding to a note by deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia, said that L-G’s permission for clearing the bills was necessary.

In December, Sisodia had asked for releasing the appearance fee to Jethmalani, PTI reported.

The Law Department had opinioned that why Delhi Government should foot the bills when the case is not related to the city administration.

The Lt. Governor is learnt to have written to Kumar seeking his advice on whether the payment should be cleared or not, said the PTI report.

Meanwhile, the Bharatiya Janata Party has criticised Kejriwal for seeking public funds to settle his legal dues with Jethmalani.

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