Indian democracy has never accepted Arun Jaitley's claim of public character, Arvind Kejriwal said.
Arvind Kejriwal today responded to Arun Jaitley's defamation suit with a stinging reply in which he taunted the Union Finance Minister for "losing by over one lakh votes" in the national election and said he has no high public "reputation to protect".
In a statement to a Delhi court, the Chief Minister said Mr Jaitley's "claim that he enjoys a high public character is totally frivolous and unsustainable."
He wrote: "The last time he contested the election to the Lok Sabha was from Amritsar as a BJP candidate in 2014. Despite the success of the BJP this plaintiff lost by a margin of more than 1,00,000 votes. Indian democracy has never accepted his claim of public character."
Last month, Mr Jaitley filed the suit against Mr Kejriwal and five other leaders of his Aam Aadmi Party over their allegations that he had presided over large-scale corruption in Delhi's cricket body, the DDCA, during his 13-year-stint as the organisation's chief. He has also filed a civil suit, claiming Rs 10 crore in damages.
Mr Kejriwal said in his reply: "No injury of any kind has been caused to the plaintiff's reputation which he claims. This is not a suit for injury to his private character, but to his public character, if at all. This defendant denies that he has any reputation of this kind to protect."
In a democracy, he argued, one's public reputation can only be the reaction, response and manifestation of the people's attitude.
Last week, Mr Jaitley told the court that Mr Kejriwal had started a "false, malicious and defamatory campaign for political mileage, causing irreversible damage" to him. "Kejriwal has falsely stated that money was siphoned off and I was the beneficiary," he had said in an hour-long statement.