Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today filed a criminal defamation complaint against Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and five other leaders of AAP for allegedly defaming him in the DDCA controversy before a Delhi court which took cognizance on his plea.
“The present complaint has been filed in personal capacity. On perusing the material on record, I take cognizance of the offences. Matter be now put up for complainant evidence on January 5,” Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Sanjay Khanagwal said.
Senior advocate Siddharth Luthra, who appeared for Jaitley, told the court that the accused Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leaders have made completely baseless and defamatory allegations against the Finance Minister regarding alleged financial irregularities in the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA).
“Mr. Jaitley has not drawn a single penny from the DDCA. Completely baseless and defamatory allegations have been levelled against him and his family members,” Luthra said.
During the 35-minute long hearing, Jaitley and various other top leaders of BJP, including Union Ministers M Venkaiah Naidu, J P Nadda, Smriti Irani, Dharmendra Pradhan, Piyush Goyal and Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore were present in the court.
Besides Kejriwal, Jaitley has filed the complaint against AAP leaders — Kumar Vishwas, Ashutosh, Sanjay Singh, Raghav Chadha and Deepak Bajpai — for their alleged defamatory remarks.
Luthra told the court that they have made defamatory statements against Jaitley not only in a press conference but also on their Twitter accounts.
The complaint has been filed for the alleged offences under sections 499 (defamation), 500 (punishment for defamation), 501 (printing or engraving matter known to be defamatory), 502 (sale of printed or engraved substance containing defamatory matter), 34 (common intention) and 35 (when such an act is criminal by reason of its being done with a criminal knowledge or intention) of the IPC.
During the hearing, Luthra said that these AAP leaders have made false allegations regarding Jaitley about his alleged association with a firm, 21st Century Media Pvt Ltd.
“Neither Jaitley nor any of his family members have any connections with 21st Century Media Pvt Ltd. Records of Registrar of Companies can be summoned to see that Jaitley has no connection whatsoever with this firm,” he said.
Luthra argued that these leaders had deliberately and with a malafide design made false allegations regarding Jaitley to create an impression that money has been siphoned.
These defamatory statements have damaged the reputation of Jaitley and have caused irreversible damage to him, the lawyer said.
“Jaitley has not taken any pecuniary advantage from DDCA at all. There are DDCA records which can be summoned. These statements by the AAP leaders are politically motivated,” he said while reading out the tweets of these AAP leaders.
To this, the magistrate asked, “Have you placed any records of DDCA ?”
Responding to the court’s query, Luthra said, “No. I (Jaitley) am not the office bearer of DDCA since 2013. We can summon the necessary records.”
At the fag end of the hearing, the senior counsel requested the court if Jaitley’s statement could be recorded today itself.
The court, however, said it would not be possible today and fixed the matter for recording complainant evidence on January 5, next year.
Jaitley’s action comes in the backdrop of attacks on him by Kejriwal and other AAP leaders over alleged irregularities and financial bunglings in Delhi’s cricket body, DDCA, of which he was the president for about 13 years till 2013.