On Wednesday, the Delhi High Court dismissed Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s plea seeking details of bank accounts, tax returns and other financial records of Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who has filed a defamation suit against Kejriwal.
Jaitley had filed the defamation suit in 2015 seeking Rs 10 crore damages from AAP leaders Kejriwal, Raghav Chadha, Kumar Vishwas, Ashutosh, Sanjay Singh and Deepak Bajpai.
The high court said that Kejriwal’s plea, which also sought the bank statements of Jaitley’s family members and companies in which he or they had over 10 per cent shareholding, was a “fishing or roving enquiry” and did not have any merit.
Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw also dismissed Kejriwal’s plea seeking removal of certain portions of Jaitley’s evidence claiming they were not there in the pleadings and replication of the BJP leader.
Advocate Anupam Srivastava, appearing for Kejriwal, said they intended to appeal against the order.
In 2015, AAP leaders had attacked Jaitley and his family members in various fora, including social media, over alleged irregularities and financial bungling in the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA), of which he was the president for about 13 years till 2013.
Back then Jaitley had denied the charges and slapped a defamation suit against AAP leaders.
Even though Kejriwal’s pleas were dismissed, Aam Aadmi Party spokesperson Raghav Chadha’s application for framing of an additional issue, that statements made by him in public fora against a public figure are privileged from defamatory action, was allowed by the court.
It, however, did not frame the additional issue whether the plaintiff (Jaitley) has to prove that alleged defamatory statements were made out of malice, after senior advocates Rajiv Nayar and Pratibha M Singh, appearing for the BJP leader, objected to it.
The court also allowed his plea for filing original annual reports and statements of accounts of DDCA for the period from 2000-01 to 2012-13.
(With inputs from PTI)