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Jethmalani denies maligning Jessica

Ram Jethmalani vehemently rejects suggestions that he is lying in a bid to protect his client Manu Sharma.

india Updated: Nov 17, 2006 13:40 IST

Noted criminal lawyer Ram Jethmalani has vehemently rejected suggestions that he is lying in a bid to protect the alleged murderer of ramp model Jessica Lal, saying he took up the case due to the "vicious propaganda" against the accused in the media.

"It is clients who lie, witnesses who lie," Jethmalani said in an interview with CNN-IBN's Karan Thapar for the Devil's Advocate show that will be telecast on Sunday.

"You can go on talking bullshit and continue that bullshit. I am totally impervious... repeated bullshit doesn't become wisdom," Jethmalani maintained.

Asked if he was concerned about the collapse of his reputation and public standing due to the manner in which he was defending prime accused Manu Sharma, Jethmalani replied: "It doesn't matter to me at all that I have lost my good name judged by some people who are bad. Bad people will always judge wrong.

"I have a conscience which many people would be proud of. I am a champion of justice. That is precisely what I am doing," he added.

A trial court had earlier this year acquitted Sharma and eight other accused in the case. Public outcry led to the Delhi Police appealing against the verdict and launching a fresh investigation into the Lal murder.

Jethmalani also answered questions about his earlier association with socialite Bina Ramani, at whose south Delhi bar Jessica Lal was shot dead in April 1999. Jethmalani did not deny that he knew Ramani well and had fought and won for her custody of her children.

Jethmalani also answered questions about the widespread belief that he was deliberately maligning Jessica Lal's character to defend Manu Sharma. He even claimed that far from casting aspersions on Jessica, he had actually "given her some character" and then added: "I hope she deserves it."

Asked whether he had no scruples or principles and would do anything to defend Manu Sharma, Jethmalani replied: "I will not do anything but I will do everything legitimate and honourable to defend my client and that is precisely what I am doing. You have no right to make comments on what I am doing. That is a matter between me and the court."

First Published: Nov 17, 2006 13:11 IST