A day after English news channel Times Now made some shocking revelations against Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, a full blown controversy over the issue has erupted now. This, however, doesn’t augur well for Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party which is hoping, and working hard to win the upcoming MCD elections in Delhi.
The news channel revealed that Kejriwal had sought to pay the charges of his “personal” legal battle against Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley from the taxpayers’ money. The Delhi CM is facing a number of defamation cases against many personalities. The most famous case among all is his legal battle against Jaitley. Senior advocate Ram Jethmalani is representing Kejriwal in the court.
With the controversy over the issue refusing to die soon, we take a look at all that has happened so far, who said what and why Kejriwal sought to pay his legal bills from public purse:
- What is the controversy all about
Anil Baijal, Delhi L-G, has reportedly sought Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar’s advice in clearing bills of Ram Jethmalani, who has been fighting for AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal in a defamation case against Arun Jaitley in a city court. In this regard, Delhi Deputy CM Manish Sisodia had sent a note to the Delhi law department in December to release the appearance fee of Jethmalani.
However, the department said that LG’s permission was necessary for clearing the bills. The law department said that the amount of pending dues to Jethmalani was around Rs 3 crore. The Law department had also said as to why the Delhi government should pay the bills when the case was not related to administration of the city. According to sources, the Delhi L-G asked Kumar, seeking his advice on whether the payment should be paid or not.
Jethmalani had reportedly sent bills for Rs 1 crore in retainership and Rs 22 lakh for each appearance in the court to Kejriwal.
- What Ram Jethmalani has said
Ram Jethmalani has said he would work for free if the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) supremo Arvind Kejriwal cannot pay him his fees. “Even now if the government doesn’t pay or he can’t pay, I will appear free. I will then treat him as one of my poor clients,” Jethmalani told ANI.
Jethmalani also vent his ire on reports suggesting Delhi Lieutenant-Governor Anil Baijal has sought Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar’s advice in clearing the bills. Jethmalani alleged that they are all in Jaitley’s control.
The senior lawyer further said that he charges only the rich. “Everybody knows this in this country that I charge only the rich, but for poor people, I do work free and the poor people are about 90 percent of my client,” he said.
- Why Arun Jaitley filed defamation case against Arvind Kejriwal
Arun Jaitley had filed a criminal defamation suit against Arvind Kejriwal and five other AAP leaders including Ashutosh, Kumar Vishwas, Sanjay Singh, Raghav Chaddha and Deepak Bajpai.
In his complaint, Jaitley had accused Kejriwal and others of defaming him in a controversy regarding Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA). Jaitley headed DDCA for over a decade. The BJP leader had also filed a civil defamation before the Delhi High Court and sought Rs 10 crore as damages.
- What AAP said
The Aam Aadmi Party has said that Delhi government must pay the bills of legal battle of Arvind Kejriwal. According to CNN-News 18 report, AAP has said that the defamation case against Kejriwal is not a private matter.
The AAP also alleged that BJP is trying to rake up the issue to divert people’s attention from the EVM controversy. AAP has alleged that it lost the Punjab polls because the EVMs used in the elections were rigged.