Noted lawyer Ram Jethmalani fired a fresh salvo at his erstwhile client Arvind Kejriwal.
Following up on his July 20 letter to Arvind Kejriwal conveying his decision to quit as the CM’s counsel, Jethmalani, who is upset with the Delhi CM for telling the court that the lawyer acted on his own in using a demeaning expression against Jaitley+ , took the unprecedented step of sending the letter to the finance minister. In his July 20 letter to Kejriwal, Jethmalani said, “When Arun Jaitley filed the first suit and the criminal case, you naturally sought my services. Ask your conscience how many times you used worse abuses than a mere ‘…….’ (the derogatory word Jethmalani had used, triggering the second Rs 10-crore defamation case against Kejriwal).
Kejriwal had accused Jaitley of complicity in the “DDCA scam”, leading the latter to file a defamation suit seeking Rs 10 crore.
In his July 20 letter to Kejriwal, Jethmalani said: “You have hundred times asked me to teach this ‘……’ a lesson. Incidentally, for the last couple of weeks, you only met me briefly. However, your assistant Raghav Chadha and advocate Anupam Srivastava have been briefing me in the matter. Of course, the law is settled that no suit for damages lies against parties and lawyers even if the suggestion made only in court judicial proceedings proves to be false or malicious.”
The CM engaged Jethmalani, a known detractor of the finance minister, to defend himself. But the two fell out over the use of an unsavoury term by the lawyer for the finance minister during the proceedings on May 17. Stung by the expression, Jaitley threatened to file a second defamation suit and asked the advocate whether he was using the word on his client’s instruction. With Jethmalani replying in the affirmative, Jaitley filed a second defamation suit against Kejriwal, demanding another Rs 10 crore in damages from him.
However, Kejriwal disputed the claim in an affidavit he filed with Delhi HC as well in a letter he wrote to Jethmalani. In his affidavit, Kejriwal said it was “inconceivable that he would even think of instructing the senior counsel to use such objectionable words+ “. The affidavit stressed, “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.”
However, in his fresh letter, Jethmalani said, “But please do not misunderstand, I am not advising you to continue the fight. If you think Jaitley will withdraw the suit on seeing this letter to me (sic), do by any means settle with him. I will take the consequences. One thing is certain, I will not now appear in any matter for your defence, only pay the settled fees+ for first matter and nothing for the second.”
When contacted, the government refused to comment on the issue.