The Delhi High Court on Tuesday (22 December) issued notice to Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and five other AAP leaders in a defamation suit filed by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. Joint Registrar K. Venugopal sought replies from Kejriwal, Kumar Vishwas, Raghav Chadha, Ashutosh, Sanjay Singh and Deepak Bajpai by February 5.
The court said: “Issue notice to the defendants (AAP leaders). They have to file written statements within three weeks and, thereafter, in two weeks’ time, the plaintiff (Jaitley) will file replication.”
While Chadha, Ashutosh, Sanjay Singh and Bajpai were present in the court, Kejriwal and Vishwas were not.
Jaitley has sought Rs.10 crore in damages following the Aam Aadmi Party leaders’ statements on alleged financial irregularities in the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA).
Jaitley headed the DDCA for 13 years till 2013.
The court also asked Kejriwal and other leaders to file original documents relating to the allegations.
Jaitley has also filed a criminal defamation complaint in a Patiala House court, saying the statements of these leaders would cause “irreversible damage” to his reputation.
Kejriwal has demanded that Jaitley must resign or be removed as the union minister to enable a free and fair probe into the DDCA issue.
AAP had accused DDCA of allowing private firm 21st Century to sub-lease 10 corporate boxes at Feroz Shah Kotla stadium and claimed the firm owned by a friend of Jaitley was extended financial benefit to the tune of over Rs 5 crore for the deal. AAP had asked Jaitley to clarify who were members of the 21st Century and whether it had any of his kin.
The AAP had also accused Arun Jaitley of putting pressure on ONGC to give an amount of Rs 5 crore to Hockey India and wanted to know what was the reason behind it.
Allegations of huge financial bungling in reconstruction of the Feroz Shah Kotla stadium in Delhi were also made. It was alleged that although public sector entity EPIL was paid Rs 57 crore for the said project the remaining Rs 57 was distributed among nine companies. It was alleged that the registered address, e-mail and directors of these companies were same.
It is noteworthy that after the CBI raid in Delhi Secretariat in connection with charges against Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s Principal Secretary Rajendra Kumar, AAP has alleged that the CBI carried out the searches to target the AAP chief and was looking for a file relating to graft in DDCA. [See: CBI says house of Kejriwal’s secretary raided and not CM office.]