Published: Wed, March 08, 2017
Global Media | By Garry Long

Drama in courtroom as Jethmalani grills Arun Jaitley

Drama in courtroom as Jethmalani grills Arun Jaitley

Responding to cross-examination by Kejriwal's counsel, senior advocate Ram Jethmalani, the finance minister said that while he never complained about political criticism, these were statements questioning his integrity which had prompted him to file the defamation case. He is also said to have gone after Jaitley and asked him if there was any personal enmity he had with former cricketer Bishen Singh Bedi, who has leveled allegations of corruption against Jaitley.

At one stage, Jethmalani brought out a dictionary and asked Jaitley the difference between "goodwill" and "reputation", but the query was shot down by the court.

Union minister Arun Jaitley, fighting for damages from Arvind Kejriwal for his alleged libelous statement, faced a renewed attack from lawyer Ram Jethmalani who tried to connect the BJP politician's 2014 electoral rout to a lack of reputation. At this, Jethmalani quickly asked him, "So this was the first time you were putting your great reputation at test in a democracy?"

As stated by the media reports, Jaitley said in his defence, "The loss of my reputation has been partly quantified in terms of money". Further arguing on how the damage to his reputation is irreplaceable and unquantifiable, Arun Jaitley stated that considering his stature and reputation, the loss of his reputation was so enormous that it was considered to be unquantifiable.

Jethmalani, on his part, asked the minister if he knew that the CBI search was in the expectation that some DDCA documents may be found. "When I ceased to be the President, I wanted to sever all my links with the DDCA and the BCCI", Jaitley said after going through the letter which was shown to him.

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He had also said that he had no prior knowledge of the raid, nor had he even been privy to the facts of the raid.

The Union minister, who had headed DDCA for 13 years, told Jethmalani that he can not recollect that he had ever met the officer.

Addressing a gathering of financial advisors of various ministers in the national capital on Tuesday, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said the Finance Bill this year would be passed before 31st March. Jaitley entered court around 11:45am, accompanied by senior advocates Rajiv Nayar, Sandeep Sethi and Pratibha M Singh, even as Jethmalani prepared to cross-examine him in open court. Jethmalani is representing Arvind Kejriwal in the defamation suit filed by the Finance Minister against the Delhi Chief Minister and five other Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leaders.

Jaitley has sought damages worth Rs 10 crore from Kejriwal and five other AAP leaders for statements they made alleging financial irregularities in the Delhi & District Cricket Association (DDCA) during the 13 years he was heading it. The hearing will continue on Tuesday.

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