Kejriwal wants taxpayers to foot his shoot and scoot defamation case billsTop Stories

April 04, 2017 12:06
Kejriwal wants taxpayers to foot his shoot and scoot defamation case bills

Chief Minister of Delhi, Arvind Kejriwal, who is so familiar with controversies, has found himself in yet another controversy, right when the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) elections are round the corner. According to reports, Kejriwal, who was involved in a legal powered battle with Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, sent his legal bill of Rs. 3.42 crore to Lieutenant General Anil Baijal's office for clearance.

Kejriwal had employed highly professional lawyers, such as Ram Jethmalani, who raised a bill of Rs 1 crore on December 1st last year, quotes Rs 1 crore retainer for representing Kejriwal and an additional Rs. 22 lakh per appearance. Jethmalani made 11 appearances so far, leading to a total of Rs 3.42 crore, even before the cross examination stage is over.

In December, Deputy Chief Minister of Delhi, Manish Sisodi,a requested for releasing appearance fee to Jethmalani, who has been fighting the defamation case, which was charged against Kejriwal by Jaitley. The amount pending to the noted lawyer is more than Rs. 3 crore and the law department questioned that why the Delhi government should foot the bills, when the case is not at all related to the city administration.

Sisodia wrote on a document on December 6, 2016 requesting the bill to be cleared, because the matter was linked to CBI raids on the CM’s office on December 15, 2015, wherein several files were seized.

"The Chief Minister made statements in the media explaining the stand of the government on such raids.

Defamation cases, criminal as well as civil, were filed against the Kejriwal pursuant to the statements made in his official capacity".

According to experts, Kejriwal and Jaitley were fighting the case in their personal capacities and if Kejriwal wanted it to be a matter involving as the Delhi chief minister, then he should have invoked Section 80 of the Civil Procedure Code.

Baijal sought Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar's advice on clearing the bills submitted by deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia, who had signed off on the bills.

The move by Baijal comes after the law department of the Delhi government, responding to a note by Sisodia, said that Baijal's permission for clearing the bills was necessary.

In 2015 Jaitely filed a criminal defamation case against Kejriwal, Raghav Chadha, Kumar Vishwas, Ashutosh, Sanjay Singh and Deepak Bajpai over their comments over the Delhi District Cricket Association controversy.

Jaitely also filed a civil suit before the Delhi High Court. Lt. Governor of Delhi wrote to Kumar, seeking his advice whether the payment should be cleared or not.

An AAP leader explained why Kejriwal expects the government should foot the legal bills, "A raid happened at the chief minister's office and his statements (against Jaitley) followed. It was an attack on the chief minister of Delhi."

Jethmalani blamed Jaitley for instigating the issue. Jethmalani said, "I charge only the rich, but for poor I work for free. All this is instigated by Jailtley who is afraid of my cross-examination. Even now if the Delhi government does not pay or he cannot pay I will appear for free. I will treat Kejriwal as one of my poor clients."

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