Union Minister Arun Jaitley today termed as "bald and belated" Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal's denial in Delhi High court that he had not instructed his former lawyer Ram Jethmalani to use defamatory words against the BJP leader.
Jaitley contended that the Aam Aadmi Party leader has neither substantiated his claim that he did not instruct his former lawyer to use such words, nor initiated any action against Jethmalani for using scandalous words without his permission.
The response of the senior BJP leader along with the evidence he was relying on was taken up today before Joint Registrar Pankaj Gupta in the second Rs 10 crore defamation case filed by Jaitley against Kejriwal for the defamatory words used against him by the veteran lawyer.
The Joint Registrar listed the case before the regular court on November 7 after conclusion of admission and denial of the evidence submitted by Jaitley through his lawyer Manik Dogra.
Kejriwal's lawyer, Anupam Srivastava, today denied before the joint registrar the newspaper reports, electronic records of the news and interviews given by Jethmalani and the photocopy of the court records, all of which carried the defamatory words used by the senior lawyer while cross-examining Jaitley.
The senior advocate had used the words while cross-examining the Union Minister in an earlier Rs 10 crore defamation case filed by the BJP leader against the AAP convenor and five others of the party in 2015.
The AAP leaders in December 2015 had levelled charges of corruption against Jaitley in connection with alleged financial irregularities in the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA).
Jaitley has denied all the allegations and also claimed that these had harmed his reputation.
In his response to Kejriwal's denial, the BJP leader has said, "The records clearly establish that it was the defendant (Kejriwal) who had instructed his (then) senior advocate to use the said ex facie defamatory and slanderous words against the plaintiff (Jaitley) in order to defame him."
"The frivolous defence submitted by the defendant in his written statement is false and dishonest," Jaitley has said in his response.
The BJP leader termed as an "afterthought" and "a belated attempt", the July 20 letter written by Kejriwal to Jethmalani stating that he had not instructed him to use any defamatory words against Jaitley.
With regard to Kejriwal's claim in his written statement that the "statements made during judicial proceedings are even otherwise protected by absolute privilege", Jaitley has said no such privilege can be claimed by a person who instructed his lawyer to insult or use defamatory language against a witness.
Jaitley has claimed he is entitled to the relief sought by him and that the suit be decreed in his favour.