Charges levelled against me with intent to tarnish my image, says Jaitley on defamation case

New Delhi [India], Mar. 6 : Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today appeared before the Delhi High Court in connection with the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) defamation case and was cross-examined by counsel for Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and other Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leaders, Ram Jethmalani.

Of the questions that were asked of him, Jaitley reiterated his stand on the defamation suit and said Kejriwal and others made defamatory statements to deflect attention from the raids carried out by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) at the office of his secretary.

"All charges were levelled against me before the media as well as the Parliament with an intent to tarnish my image.

These attempts went on for five consecutive days despite me denying all those charges. The loss (of image) is irreparable," he said, citing he has been in active politics since 1977 and has maintained a clean image throughout.

"I have never complained against political criticism, but this is for the first time when personal imputations questioning my integrity were made," he added.

Cross-examining on this, Jethmalani asked Jaitley the reason he took six days to file the defamation case.

Jaitley's counsel answered they were waiting, since they were refuting all charges with regularity. The Finance Minister was also asked to explain the usage of 'unquantifiable damage to his reputation' in his complaint.

"I believe that considering my stature, background and reputation, the loss caused to me and my reputation was so enormous that it could be considered unquantifiable," he replied.

When asked if he was aware that the Delhi Government was contemplating the appointment of a commission of inquiry in respect of some matters connected with the DDCA, Jaitley said he had left the president-ship of the DDCA in 2013 and had no interest in the activities of this association thereafter.

"In December 2015, I had no interest in the activities of this association nor I was keeping myself acquainted with all the details.

I did not know at the time of these allegations that the Delhi Government was contemplating any commission of inquiry," he said.

The hearing for the case is expected to continue tomorrow at the court. In the previous hearing, Jaitley had tendered evidence in support of his civil defamation suit against Kejriwal and the AAP leaders.

Jaitley had filed the suit seeking Rs. 10 crore in damages after Kejriwal and five Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leaders accused him of alleged irregularities and financial bungling in Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA), of which Jaitley was the president for about 13 years until 2013.

Jaitley denied of all charges and filed a criminal defamation case against Kejriwal and five other AAP leaders in the Patiala House Court, while a civil defamation case was filed in the Delhi High Court.

The Supreme Court on November 22 dismissed Kejriwal's plea seeking a stay on trial court proceedings in the case.

Source: ANI