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‘Clearly misinformed’ Kejriwal apologises, Jaitley forgives

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Delhi CM and AAP supremo also explains what really happened when his lawyer Jethmalani called Jaitley a ‘crook’ in court, leading to a second defamation case.

New Delhi: Continuing on his apology spree, Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal has now said sorry to union finance minister Arun Jaitley.

In a letter dated 1 April, Kejriwal wrote that the allegations he made in December 2015 against Jaitley were based on theories that turned out to be “unfounded and unwarranted”, and that he was “clearly misinformed”.

“I offer my sincere apology to you and your family members for any harm caused to your reputation as a consequence of my allegations,” the letter stated.

Jaitley has accepted the apology.

What allegations did Kejriwal make? 

In 2015, Kejriwal and other AAP leaders – who have also sent letters of apology – accused Jaitley of corruption and financial irregularities during his tenure as the head of the Delhi & District Cricket Association (DDCA), a position he held for 13 years until 2013.

Jaitley filed a defamation suit and demanded Rs 10 crore in damages. He said he “didn’t take a single penny” from the DDCA. AAP, however, maintained that he had engaged in corrupt practices.

“Arun Jaitley should not try to scare us with a court case. Our fight against corruption will continue,” Kejriwal had tweeted.

The Jethmalani round

In May 2017, Arun Jaitley filed a fresh defamation suit of Rs 10 crore against Kejriwal. This time, it was because of something his counsel, veteran lawyer Ram Jethamalani, said in court.

During the proceedings, Jethmalani called Jaitley a “crook” while cross-examining him about the alleged DDCA scam. Jaitley took offence, and an ugly argument erupted. Jaitley said he would seek higher damages, and said there was a limit to “personal malice”.

Asked to clarify what he meant when he called Jaitley a crook, Jethmalani said it was based on instructions from his client, Kejriwal.

In July 2017, Jethmalani quit as Kejriwal’s lawyer in the defamation cases filed by Jaitley after a bitter fallout. Kejriwal told the Delhi High Court that he had not instructed Jethmalani to make such “objectionable remarks” against Jaitley. He said that it was “inconceivable” to even think of asking such senior counsel to make such remarks.

Jethmalani maintained that he had been told to do so, and allegedly wrote in a letter that Kejriwal had called Jaitley things in private conversation that were far more offensive than “crook”. He also asked Kejriwal to pay his legal bills, which added up to over Rs 2 crore.

In his apology letter to Jaitley, Kejriwal wrote that the “disparaging and malicious” statements made by Jethmalani were without his knowledge, and not on his instruction.

Kejriwal’s ‘sorry’  spree

Jaitley was evidently next in line for an apology from the Aam Aadmi Party supremo, who has already apologised to other people who have filed defamation suits against him. Kejriwal is currently fighting more than 20 defamation cases.

He caused a stir when he apologised to the Akali Dal’s Bikram Singh Majithia, which upset a section of AAP leaders and MLAs in Punjab. ThePrint reported that there had been several months of negotiations between both factions before the “meek surrender”.  The public apology prompted AAP’s Punjab unit chief Bhagwant Mann to quit.

He also apologised to union minister Nitin Gadkari and Congress leader Kapil Sibal’s son Amit. The defamation complaints were withdrawn.

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  1. श्री अरविंद केजरीवाल के उद्विकासी राजनीतिक आकलन…पिक्चर अभी बाक़ी है

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