New Delhi: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal is in a controversy for allegedly using public money to pay bills upto Rs 4 crore to Ram Jethmalani as his counsel in a civil and criminal defamation case filed by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.
Jaitley had filed a case against Kejriwal for allegedly making “false and defamatory” statements in which the latter had accused the BJP leader of financial irregularities as the president of the Delhi and District Cricket Association or DDCA. Jaitley, also a famous lawyer, had sought Rs. 10 crore in damages in the cases filed in 2015.
Since Jethmalani was Kejriwal’s counsel in the case, he had sent bills of Rs 1 crore in retainership and Rs 22 lakh per court appearance. It was revealed by some sources that deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia has signed the bills and sent them for clearance to Delhi’s Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal.
After AAP members in Kejriwal’s defence said that initially 93 year old Jethmalani had offered to represent him for free but nine months later started sending bills. On this, the veteran lawyer on Tuesday said, he will not charge Kejriwal if he cannot pay.
“I will certainly defend him even if he can’t pay, but he said ‘no, I want to pay, send us the bills’, so I have sent bills. If it is incumbent on me to support him and his livelihood I will support him, because he is a clean force as opposed to Arun Jaitley,” said Jethmalani. The top lawyer was removed from BJP four years ago.