Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal denied on Tuesday having defamed finance minister Arun Jaitley, claiming a suit filed against him by the BJP leader was an attempt to deflect public attention from alleged irregularities in the DDCA that oversees cricket in the Capital.
Responding to a notice issued by the Delhi high court on a civil defamation suit by Jaitley against him and five other AAP leaders, Kejriwal said he had made the allegations in public interest to eradicate corruption in the sport.
In a written statement, the chief minister said it was an attempt to “browbeat” him and other AAP leaders “into silence and dissuade them from drawing attention to the mismanagement and rampant financial irregularities plaguing the DDCA”.
Kejriwal and his Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) have alleged large amounts were siphoned off through fake companies and there were irregularities in team selection when the Delhi and District Cricket Association was headed by Jaitley for about a decade.
The high court’s joint registrar, Kovai Venugopal, had issued a notice to Kejriwal and AAP leaders Kumar Vishwas, Ashutosh, Sanjay Singh, Raghav Chadha and Deepak Bajpai on the suit by Jaitley seeking Rs 10 crore in damages for issuing “false and defamatory statements” against him and his family members’.
The court had also asked the AAP chief and other leaders of his party to file original documents related to the allegations levelled in the suit against them in one week. The matter is fixed for hearing on February 5.
Jaitley has also filed a criminal defamation complaint before a trial court against Kejriwal and the other five AAP leaders for making “false allegations about financial irregularities in the DDCA”.
In his civil suit, Jaitley had alleged that defamatory attacks on him by Kejriwal and other AAP leaders were a “counter-blast to a CBI search of a bureaucrat in the Secretariat of the Government of NCT Delhi on December 15, 2015”.
“Apparently, this malicious propaganda of false and baseless allegations is not only with a view to deflect the incident of CBI search of a bureaucrat but is also an orchestrated malafide design for ulterior political motives of the respondents (AAP leaders) against the complainant,” his petition had said. “It is available on the records of the DDCA that... throughout his tenure as the President of the DDCA, the plaintiff (Jaitley) has not even taken legitimate reimbursement of his expenses from the DDCA.”
“This clearly is calculated, engineered and designed by all respondents/accused persons between them for gaining political mileage and other unwarranted benefits at the cost of causing irreversible damage to the complainant,” the plea added.