On Arvind Kejriwal's 3.8 Crore Bill, Ram Jethmalani Says Won't Charge

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On Arvind Kejriwal's 3.8 Crore Bill, Ram Jethmalani Says Won't Charge

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On Arvind Kejriwal's 3.8 crore bill, Ram Jethmalani says if he can't afford will defend him for free

New Delhi: 

Highlights

  1. Jethmalani defending Chief Minister in defamation case
  2. Case filed by Finance minister Arun Jaitley in 2015
  3. Delhi government wanted to pay legal fees of 3.8 crores
Lawyer Ram Jethmalani has said that if Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal cannot afford to pay his fee, he will not charge the politician to defend him in court. His offer comes after a controversy was triggered by Mr Kejriwal's government attempting to pay a 3.8 crore bill for the politician's lawyer accrued in a civil and criminal defamation case brought against him by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.

"I will certainly defend him even if he can't pay, but he said 'no, I want to pay, send us the bills', so I have sent bills. If it is incumbent on me to support him and his livelihood I will support him, because he is a clean force as opposed to Arun Jaitley," said Mr Jethmalani, who is 93 and was expelled by the Finance Minister's party, the BJP, four years ago.

The case against Mr Kejriwal was filed in 2015 and accuses him of making unsubstantiated allegations of corruption against the Finance Minister related to the period when he headed the Delhi and District Cricket Association or DDCA, the main cricket administration body for Delhi and its surrounding areas.

Mr Kejriwal engaged a retinue of lawyers to represent him. Both the Finance Minister and he have appeared in court in connection with the case.

Mr Kejriwal's deputy, Manish Sisodia, signed off on the legal bills and sent them for clearance to Delhi's Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal, who has sought the opinion of experts on how to proceed.

"It is you who made the statement - then why should people pay? It is you who should pay," said union Minister Prakash Javadekar, claiming that the Chief Minister's Aam Admi Party is "trying to loot the people."

Mr Jethmalani has reportedly sent bills for Rs.1crore in retainership and Rs.22 lakh for each appearance in court to the Delhi Chief Minister.

AAP says that the government should pay the bill because the case targets the office of the Chief Minister, and not an individual.The Finance Minister, a famous lawyer too, has sought 10 crores in damages.   

AAP leaders also claimed that Mr Jethmalani had initially offered to represent Mr Kejriwal free of cost against Mr Jaitley, but about nine months after taking the case, he started sending bills to the Chief Minister.

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Last week, the Lieutenant Governor said that AAP must reimburse the government 97 crores for ads that promoted Mr Kejriwal and his party in violation of Supreme Court guidelines.

M Kejriwal and his party have repeatedly accused the centre of using the Lieutenant Governor, who functions as its representative in the capital, to undermine the Delhi government.

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