- Jethmalani has quit as Kejriwal’s counsel in the civil and criminal defamation cases filed by Arun Jaitley.
- The lawyer accused Arvind Kejriwal of using offensive language against Jaitley during private discussions on the case.
- Jethmalani also told the CM to settle his legal fee of around Rs 2 crore.
Ram Jethmalani has quit as chief minister Arvind Kejriwal’s counsel in the civil and criminal defamation cases filed by Union finance minister Arun Jaitley against the CM.
Following Kejriwal’s denial+ of having instructed the lawyer to use derogatory language against Jaitley during court proceedings on May 17, the lawyer has written a letter to the CM, accusing him of using even more offensive language against Jaitley during private discussions on the case.
Jethmalani has asked Kejriwal to settle his legal fees amounting to more than Rs 2 crore. The lawyer used an offensive word, amounting to accusing Jaitley of being a criminal, during proceedings of the Rs 10-crore defamation case against Kejriwal and five other AAP leaders.
Jaitley asked Jethmalani if the word was spoken on his client’s instruction. The lawyer replied in the affirmative and Jaitley filed another Rs 10-crore defamation suit+ against the CM.
Stung by the fresh defamation suit, Kejriwal filed an affidavit in Delhi high court and wrote a letter to Jethmalani saying he had not given any instructions for use of the derogatory word.
In his affidavit, Kejriwal said it was ” inconceivable+ that he would even think of instructing the senior counsel to use such objectionable words”. “Neither the defendant (Kejriwal) nor the counsel (Anupam Srivastava) briefing the senior counsel (Jethmalani) gave instructions to the senior counsel to use the objectionable words on May 17, 2017,” Kejriwal said in the affidavit.
In response, after conveying his decision to quit as the CM’s advocate, Jethmalani also told the CM to settle his legal fee, which, by a conservative estimate, would be over Rs 2 crore. The Delhi government had, this February, cleared a payment of Rs 3.5 crore to Jethmalani, which included Rs 1 crore as retainer and Rs 22 lakh as fee for each appearance in court.
However, the chief minister’s office refused to comment on the matter, saying they “have no intimation on Jethmalani withdrawing from the case so far”.
Jethmalani told TOI, “Kejriwal has written a letter to me. I have replied to that. I am not going to divulge the details of either of the letters. You ask Kejriwal to make public both the letters. I have promised him not to make it public.”
Sources said, in his letter, Jethmalani reminded Kejriwal about many conferences they had at the lawyer’s residence and during which he had informed the CM about how PM Narendra Modi, impressed by his relentless fight against black money, had asked him to join BJP in 2010.
The letter also said the CM had shared the lawyer’s anguish about BJP doing nothing to keep its election-eve promise to get back black money and deposit Rs 15 lakh in every Indian’s bank account and how Jethmalani held Modi and Jaitley responsible for this.
During such conversations, Jethmalani alleged in his letter, Kejriwal had used even more objectionable words against Jaitley. The alleged use of derogatory words by Kejriwal during the conference appeared to have made Jethmalani repeat them during the May 17 proceedings before the HC registrar in the first defamation suit.