Defamation suits against Kejriwal
Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Monday filed both civil and criminal defamation suits against Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and five other AAP leaders for allegedly defaming him in the alleged DDCA scam and sought Rs10 crore in damages and their prosecution for offences that entail a punishment of up to two years in jail. Ashutosh, Sanjay Singh, Kumar Vishwas, Raghav Chaddha and Deepak Bajpai have been made co-accused in the case.
Senior advocate Siddharth Luthra, who appeared for Jaitley, pleaded for immediately recording the Minister’s statement but Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Sanjay Khanagwal of the Patiala House Courts just took cognisance of the complaint and posted the case for January 5 when Jaitley will record his testimony. Luthra stated in his submission that the Minister did not draw even a single penny during his tenure as DDCA chief and accused Kejriwal of defaming him through press conferences and on his Twitter and Facebook accounts.
A week after a CBI raid on the Kejriwal’s Principal Secretary that triggered allegations by the AAP against Jaitley in the affairs of the DDCA, the Union Minister took the legal recourse
saying the AAP leaders’ “malicious and defamatory” campaign was causing irreversible damage to him.
Jaitley arrived at the Patiala House Courts a little after lunch at 2.05 pm amid a jostling crowd of BJP supporters, who shouted slogans against Kejriwal.
Union Ministers and senior BJP leaders, including M Venkaiah Naidu, Smriti
Irani, Nirmala Sitharaman, Dharmendra Pradhan, Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, Piyush Goel, JP Nadda, VK Malhotra, and Nalin Kohli, accompanied Jaitley.
The complaint was filed under various Sections of the IPC including 499 (defamation), 500 (punishment), 501 and 502 (printing and sale of defamatory matter).
Earlier in the day, Jaitley filed a civil suit in the Delhi High Court against Kejriwal and five others AAP leaders for issuing allegedly false and defamatory statements against him and his family members.
Jaitley’s counsel advocate Manik Dogra said the civil suit, in which he has sought Rs 10 crores as damages, will come up in the normal course of listing.
In his submission, Siddharth Luthra said, “Accused persons (Arvind Kejriwal and others) with knowledge and common intention have in the past few days individually and collectively, undertaken a false/malicious and defamatory campaign/propaganda against Arun Jaitley and his family members. This clearly is calculated, engineered and designed by all respondents/accused persons between them for gaining political mileage and other unwarranted benefits at the cost of causing irreversible damage to the complainant.”
He added that it has been done “only to deflect issues from an unrelated act of a search during investigation by the CBI of a bureaucrat in the Secretariat of the Government of NCT Delhi…These acts of malicious, false and baseless allegations by the accused is part of an orchestrated malafide design for ulterior political motives of the respondents against the complainant.”
“This was one of the stadiums with modern facilities, built in India for a most economical amount of Rs 114 crores whereas it is available in the public domain that the mere renovation of the Jawahar Lal Nehru Stadium for Commonwealth Games had cost the Government Rs 900 crores and the cost for renovation of Dhyanchand Stadium was to the tune of Rs 600 crores,” he said.
Submitting Kejriwal’s remarks in the complaint Luthra added, “Kejriwal had alleged that 21st Media Pvt Ltd company, a marketing company, which got sponsorship for signage and for sale and sublease of corporate boxes is owned by some relatives of the complainant and that Jaitley either himself or through his family members got some pecuniary advantage out of the same.” Luthra refuted the Delhi CM’s statements by submitting that 21st Century Media Pvt Ltd is a professional sports management company of which neither the complainant nor anyone of his family members ever had any commercial dealings/commercial interest/shareholding nor was complainant ever on the board of this company.
Referring to the allegation to create an impression that Rs 57 crores have been siphoned off in the reconstruction of the Ferozeshah Kotla stadium, Jaitley said the truth was that this was one of the stadiums with modern facilities built in India for a most economical amount of Rs 114 crores.
On the contrary, the mere renovation of Jawaharlal Nehru stadium for Commonwealth Games 2010 had cost the government Rs 900 crores and renovation of Dhyanchand stadium was to the tune of Rs 600 crores, he said.
“The complainant has always remained concerned about his reputation and credibility and has always conducted himself with utmost probity and integrity in each of his action.
“Even when the complainant was discharging the functions as President of the DDCA, he had never even imagined of taking any pecuniary advantage for himself or any of his family members.
“It is available on the records of the DDCA that what to talk of imagining taking of any pecuniary benefit, throughout his tenure as the President of DDCA, the complainant has not even legitimate reimbursement of his expenses from the DDCA,” he said in his complaint.
In the civil suit, he said, “by all acts of omissions and commissions by the defendants including making false, baseless, scandalous, malicious statements/allegations against the plaintiff, they have made themselves liable individually and collectively for the irreversible and unquantifiable damage caused to the plaintiff.”
“All defendants individually and collectively have made themselves liable to compensate the plaintiff for a sum of Rs 10 crores,” the plea said appealing to the court to pass a decree of damages against the defendants.
The civil suit is likely to come up for hearing on Tuesday.
-22 December 2015 | Ankita Upadhyay | New Delhi