Arun Jaitley says Arvind Kejriwal's defamatory statements a deflecting tactic

DDCA defamation case: Jethmalani cross-examines Arun Jaitley, asks how his reputation hampered in

DDCA defamation case: Jethmalani cross-examines Arun Jaitley, asks how his reputation hampered in "irreparable

Jaitley, himself a lawyer, added that Kejriwal had committed a "serious act of libel through his malicious falsehood", referring to an alleged statement by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader that his (Jaitley's) wife and daughter were linked to fake companies.

"Even false allegations gain credibility, repetition of libelous statements gave me a cause of action against the person, particularly if he has stature, to take action against the said person", he said. Taking a jibe at Arun Jaitley, Jethmalani asked, "There is no objective rational reason, besides the value that you put on yourself?"

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.

Jethmalani also reminded Jaitley that he lost the 2014 Lok Sabha election from Amritsar by more than 1 lakh votes. At the outset, he asked the finance minister what made him sue the Delhi chief minister and not the many others who have levelled serious allegations against him in the past.

Jethmalani had asked 52 questions to Jaitley in his bid to prove that the lawsuit on defamation by the senior BJP leader was unfounded and should be dismissed.

Jethmalani wondered why a case was filed against Kejriwal when he had only repeated a tweet of social activist and researcher Madhu Kishwar.

Jaitley was, however, responded that election results were impacted by "several factors in the constituency and (were) not merely a test of a candidate's reputation". "Neither as minister nor as the leader of opposition did I prevail upon any ministry or government department to do anything wrong or improper in relation to DDCA", he added.

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Jethmalani then also questioned Jaitley on whether the prime minister knew that he was going to sue the Delhi chief minister.

While refuting the allegations of financial bungling in DDCA, Jaitley reiterated, "This letter (by Bishan Bedi) was written in 2015, even though I had ceased to be the president of DDCA in 2013".

"I strongly deny the contents of this letter in so far it pertains to me".

During the proceedings which lasted almost two hours in a packed court room of Joint Registrar Amit Kumar, a variety of questions including allegations made against him by veteran cricketer Bishan Singh Bedi were put to the Finance Minister.

Jaitley's cross-examination by Jethmalani, who is representing Kejriwal, remained inconclusive and will continue on May 15 and 17.

The Finance Minister has already tendered evidence in support of his civil defamation suit against Kejriwal and five AAP leaders - Raghav Chadha, Kumar Vishwas, Ashutosh, Sanjay Singh and Deepak Bajpai. Denying all the charges, Jaitley filed a criminal defamation case against them in the Patiala House Court and the civil defamation case in the Delhi High Court.

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