New Delhi: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who has sued Arvind Kejriwal's Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) for defamation, was cross-examined in open court today by fellow lawyer Ram Jethmalani. In course of a back-and-forth that went on for hours, Mr Jaitley was asked to explain how he called the damage to his reputation "irreparable and unquantifiable" and whether it had anything to do with his "personal feelings of greatness". Mr Jethmalani, a former BJP leader, was unsparing as he demanded that Mr Jaitley explain - why the defamation suit.
- Arun Jaitley questioned for over 2 hours by Jethmalani
- Arun Jaitley has sued Kejriwal, AAP for defamation
- Case involves charge of corruption in Delhi cricket body DDCA
Mr Jaitley has taken AAP to court for accusing him of a role in financial mismanagement at Delhi's cricket body DDCA, which he headed for 13 years till 2013. He had filed a civil defamation case demanding 10 crores in damages.
Mr Jethmalani, who is representing Arvind Kejriwal, accused Mr Jaitley of trying to influence Chetan Sanghi, the Delhi government vigilance chief who handled the DDCA case, and persuading him to go back on his report.
Most of his 50-off questions at the Delhi High Court was based on proving that the defamation case was unfounded.
"There is no objective rational reason, besides the value that you put on yourself?" said Mr Jethmalani, to which Mr Jaitley replied, "The value I placed, towards loss of my reputation was only a small part of the enormous damage done."
Mr Jethmalani said the senior minister had not suffered any monetary damage, "which is why you call it unquantifiable". What, he questioned, compelled Mr Jaitley to decide that the damage is irreparable?
Mr Jaitley responded, "The loss of my reputation has been partly quantified in terms of money. Loss of reputation causes mental distress to the person defamed, which it did in my case."
He argued, "Considering my stature, background and reputation, the loss caused to me and my reputation was so enormous that it was considered unquantifiable."
Mr Jethmalani then retorted, "in other words it was your personal feeling about your greatness, that it can't be estimated in terms of fiscal measure."
Mr Jaitley replied that his views were based on what "my friends, well-wishers and others, both privately and in the media, who had expressed an opinion on the subject."