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Jethmalani offers free service to ‘poor’ Kejriwal
BY RESMI SIVARAM April 05, 2017
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NEW DELHI: Eminent lawyer Ram Jethmalani, who was once a cabinet minister in a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government, said on Tuesday he will defend Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal without taking a single paisa.

Kejriwal faces a defamation case filed by Union Minister of Finance Arun Jaitley.

“Even if (Delhi) government doesn’t pay or he can’t pay, I will appear for free, will treat him (Kejriwal) as one of my poor clients,”

Jethmalani, who has raised a bill of Rs34.2 million for his services to Kejriwal, said.

“All this is instigated by Jailtley who’s afraid of my cross-examination,” the 93-year-old veteran of several big battles said.

“If it is incumbent on me to support him (Kejriwal) and his livelihood I will support him, because he is a clean force as opposed to Arun Jaitley,” said Jethmalani.

Kejriwal’s deputy Manish Sisodia had sent the bills for clearance to Delhi’s Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal and for Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar’s advice.

At the same time, a controversy has erupted over Kejriwal seeking Delhi government money.

Jaitley has sued Kejriwal the individual and using public money is wrong, some legal experts pointed out.

Former Attorney General Soli Sorabjee says: “It is a civil suit. Kejriwal has to pay on his own. How does the Delhi government come into the picture.”

“The case is against Arvind Kejriwal, not against the Delhi CM...Chief Minister is his post. This is a private defamation case,” said union Minister Prakash Javadekar of the BJP, accusing the Aam Aadmi Party of “dacoity” and of “trying to loot the people.”

Javadekar pointed out that Mr Jaitley is paying his own legal bills.

“He is the finance minister of the country. But he is not misusing his office. This is a personal matter and he is dealing with it personally. That is the difference between an honest government and one that is just fooling the people,” the minister said.

In 2015, Jaitley had filed a criminal defamation complaint against Kejriwal and AAP leaders Raghav Chadha, Kumar Vishwas, Ashutosh, Sanjay Singh and Deepak Bajpai over their comments over the Delhi District Cricket Association (DDCA) controversy, seeking their prosecution for offences that entail a punishment of up to two years in jail.

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