The Delhi High Court today allowed an AAP leader to withdraw his plea seeking its nod to amend his reply to the defamation suit filed by Union Minister Arun Jaitley against him and others, including Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. Raghav Chadha, a leader of Aam Aadmi Party, told the High Court that he wanted to withdraw his application seeking the permission to amend his written statement in the defamation lawsuit with the liberty to raise it in future hearings. At present, Jaitley is being cross-examined by noted criminal lawyer Ram Jethmalani on behalf of Kejriwal.
Chadha’s response came in the backdrop of the court’s May 12 order asking his counsel Avi Singh to take instruction whether he wanted to pursue his application or withdraw it. As Singh made the statement after taking instruction from Chadha, Justice Siddharth Mridul allowed the plea seeking its nod to amend written statement to be withdrawn.
Earlier, an application was filed by Chadha seeking to amend his written statement and add certain preliminary objections. The reply was filed by Chadha in response to the defamation suit. Jaitley, who holds twin portfolios of Finance and Defence, is likely to appear in court on July 28 for further cross-examination in the matter. On May 17, the cross-examination had ended abruptly after an intense verbal duel broke out between Jaitley and Jethmalani.
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The recording of Jaitley’s statement in a civil defamation suit of Rs 10 crore filed by him against Kejriwal and other AAP functionaries could not continue as the minister objected to the use of an abusive word hurled at him by Jethmalani. The union minister filed a fresh Rs 10 crore civil defamation suit filed against Kejriwal over the use of an objectionable word by Jethmalani. Jaitley, who has denied all allegations of financial bungling in Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA), had originally filed a suit seeking Rs 10 crore damages against the backdrop of attacks on him by Kejriwal and some other AAP leaders over alleged irregularities in the cricket body of which he was the president for about 13 years till 2013.
On December 6 last year, Jaitley had appeared in the high court and tendered evidence in support of his suit against Kejriwal, Chadha and other AAP leaders – Kumar Vishwas, Sanjay Singh, Ashutosh and Deepak Bajpai, notwithstanding their claim that they had not made any defamatory statement against him in the DDCA case. The issues were framed against them after Kejriwal’s counsel had denied the allegations and submitted that whatever was said against the Minister was in public domain and he had not said anything on his own.
The court had framed issues against all the six AAP leaders and fixed the matter before Joint Registrar to decide whether any defamatory statements were made by them. In a civil suit, when one party affirms and other party denies a material proposition of fact or law, then only the issues arise. Jaitley has also filed a criminal defamation complaint in a Delhi court on the same issue. The DDCA too has filed a criminal defamation suit against Kejriwal and suspended BJP MP Kirti Azad.