- Arvind Kejriwal sued for defamation by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley
- Kejriwal's ex lawyer, Ram Jethmalani, called Jaitley "a crook"
- Kejriwal says didn't endorse that, Jethmalani says he's lying to court
Late last month, Mr Kejriwal informed the court that he had not instructed famous lawyer Ram Jethmalani to use words including "crook" to describe the union minister in court. But Mr Jethmalani, since sacked by Mr Kejriwal, claims that in fact, the Chief Minister used far saltier terms to attack Mr Jaitley. In a blog, the 93-year-old lawyer who was expelled in 2013 by Mr Jaitley's party, the BJP, professed that the Chief Minister doth protest too much.
Based on Mr Jethmalani's disclosure, Mr Jaitley has in turn said that Mr Kejriwal has misled the court by stating that he did not sign off on his lawyer's language. In fact, he says Mr Jethmalani has written to him to insist that was the case. The Chief Minister must now offer his defense to the Delhi High Court.
In 2015, Mr Jaitley sued Mr Kejriwal and five top leaders of his Aam Aadmi Party or AAP for defamation after they accused him of corruption during his 13-year tenure as the top boss of the DDCA, the powerful cricket association that handles Delhi and its surrounding areas. In two separate cases - criminal and civil - Mr Jaitley has sought damages of 10 crores.
Mr Jaitley last month objected to Mr Jethmalani's language during court proceedings and said hearings in the Delhi High Court are being delayed by Mr Kejriwal's team. The court asked Mr Kejriwal to abstain from "scandalous" and "indecent language."
After the Chief Minister said that Mr Jethmalani was free-styling with abusive language and that he had not authorized the questionable words, the lawyer retorted in a blog, "Ask your conscience how many times you used worse abuses than a mere 'crook'. You have hundred times asked me to teach this crook a lesson."
Mr Jethmalani says that the Chief Minister owes him two crores for his appearances. In his new enmity with Mr Kejriwal, he has become an unlikely and indirect ally of Mr Jaitley.