A day after presenting the Union Budget, Jaitley went to the Delhi High Court where heated exchanges were witnessed during his cross-examination.
The Delhi High Court today directed Arvind Kejriwal to wind up on February 12 cross examination of Arun Jaitley in a defamation suit filed by the Union minister against the chief minister and five other AAP leaders. A day after presenting the Union Budget, Jaitley went to the Delhi High Court where heated exchanges were witnessed during his cross-examination. Kejriwal was directed by Joint Registrar Rakesh Pandit to wind up his cross-examination of Jaitley on February 12 after the minister complained he has been called nine times and subjected to over 250 “irrelevant questions” not connected to the allegations of misconduct against him and his family in connection with the Delhi and District Cricket Association which he headed from 1999 to 2013. The Union minister said the proceedings were being sidetracked by putting questions to him about the conduct of other office bearers of the DDCA during his tenure as the president. He was being cross-examined in the Rs 10 crore defamation suit filed by him against Kejriwal and five other Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leaders, Raghav Chadha, Kumar Vishwas, Sanjay Singh, Ashutosh and Deepak Bajpai, in the wake of allegations of financial irregularities against him in the DDCA. Taking note of his objection, the joint registrar said “I feel sufficient opportunities have been granted to the defendant (Kejriwal) to cross examine the plaintiff (Jaitley). “It is necessary to direct defendant to conclude his evidence on February 12. No further date for future cross examination will be given to Kejriwal,” he said. Kejriwal’s counsel told reporters outside the court that he will appeal against this order. Jaitley, 64, who has denied the allegations against him, told the joint registrar that after asking over 250 irrelevant questions, “how can they be permitted to ask questions about X and Y’s misconduct”.
He said the questions being put to him “from all over the world”, which showed that the other side did not have sufficient material to support their allegations. Similar objections were voiced by his battery of lawyers, including senior advocates Rajiv Nayar and Sandeep Sethi and advocate Manik Dogra, who contended that Kejriwal’s counsel were “trying to sabotage” the cross-examination as well as “delay the proceedings for years”. On the other hand, Kejriwal’s lawyers, senior advocate Anoop George Chaudhari and advocate Anupam Srivastav, argued that by their questions they were trying to impeach the credibility of Jaitley as well as show that irregularities were happening in the DDCA during his tenure at its head. The questions in dispute pertained to whether Jaitley was aware of the conversion of a public club of Syndicate Bank in to a private club of DDCA as well as the Chetan Chauhan panel’s draft report on alleged irregularities in the cricketing body. When these questions were put to the Union minister, even the joint registrar said he wanted to know “in which direction the proceedings were going” as already over 250 questions had been put to him. “Questions cannot be limitless. It has to lead some where. I have to control my court. I have the right to curtail the cross-examination,” he added. The court fixed February 12 for further cross-examination of Jaitley who has also filed a second defamation suit of Rs 10 crore against Kejriwal after an exchange of heated words between the counsel representing AAP leaders and those of union minister over the usage of abusive words against the latter.