The BJP on Tuesday slammed the Delhi government’s bid to clear Rs. 3.42 crore bill related to a defamation case against Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal even as the AAP government strongly defended the move.
Union ministers Prakash Javadekar and Kiren Rijiju hit out at Delhi government’s bid to foot Kejriwal’s legal bills calling it a “dacoity and loot” of the people’s money.
Union minister Prakash Javadekar alleged that Kejriwal was taken to court by Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley for his “personal crime” and the Delhi government’s decision is against the law and rules of the government.
“It’s illegal and immoral. Why should the people of Delhi pay for your (Kejriwal) sins? This is a dacoity and loot of their money and is completely unacceptable,” he said.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has sued Arvind Kejriwal the individual for defamation and not as Delhi Chief Minister, the BJP said today, attacking the Aam Aadmi Party chief for wanting to use public money to pay his legal bills. Former Attorney General Soli Sorabjee concurs.
“It is a civil suit. Kejriwal has to pay on his own. How does the Delhi government come into the picture,” said Mr. Sorabjee to a TV news channel, adding, “Delhi’s taxpayer money can’t be used, Kejriwal in his individual capacity has to pay the bill.”
Lt Governor Anil Baijal is learnt to have sought Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar’s advice in clearing bills of Jethmalani. The move by Baijal comes after the Law Department of Delhi Government, responding to a letter by Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, said that LG’s permission for clearing the bills was necessary.
Sisodia said the government should be bearing the cost as the defamation case is related to the ‘inquiry initiated by the state government against the alleged corruption in Delhi District Cricket Association (DDCA).
Speaking to reporters at his residence on Mathura Road, Sisodia also questioned the timing of raising the issue saying ‘it was aimed at diverting attention from the controversy surrounding EVM tampering”.
“The government had initiated inquiry against corruption in DDCA. People, who are involved in it, have filed the (defamation) case. Why should (Delhi chief minister) Arvind Kejriwal pay the bills in personal capacity?” said Sisodia, even as he refused to take any questions on the issue.
Ram Jethmalani also hit out at Jaitley alleging that the row over the Delhi government’s move to clear his bills for fighting the case has been “instigated” by the Union Finance Minister.
On its part, the AAP alleged that Jaitley was paid large retainership fee for defending a private firm when it was mired in the 2G scam.
Jethmalani said it is the government’s duty to defend the chief minister.
“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 the bills. Even if the government does not support him, I will.
“If necessary, I will support him for his livelihood because he is a clean force compared to Arun Jaitley,” said Jethmalani.