Ram Jethmalani has quit as chief minister Arvind Kejriwal’s counsel in the civil and criminal defamation cases filed by Union finance minister Arun Jaitley against the CM.
Following Kejriwal’s denial of having instructed the lawyer to use derogatory language against Jaitley during court proceedings on May 17, the lawyer has written a letter to the CM, accusing him of using even more offensive language against Jaitley during private discussions on the case.
Jethmalani has asked Kejriwal to settle his legal fees amounting to more than Rs 2 crore. The lawyer used an offensive word, amounting to accusing Jaitley of being a criminal, during proceedings of the Rs 10-crore defamation case against Kejriwal and five other AAP leaders.
Jaitley asked Jethmalani if the word was spoken on his client’s instruction. The lawyer replied in the affirmative and Jaitley filed another Rs 10-crore defamation suit+ against the CM.
Stung by the fresh defamation suit, Kejriwal filed an affidavit in Delhi high court and wrote a letter to Jethmalani saying he had not given any instructions for use of the derogatory word.
In his affidavit, Kejriwal said it was ” inconceivable+ that he would even think of instructing the senior counsel to use such objectionable words”. “Neither the defendant (Kejriwal) nor the counsel (Anupam Srivastava) briefing the senior counsel (Jethmalani) gave instructions to the senior counsel to use the objectionable words on May 17, 2017,” Kejriwal said in the affidavit.
In response, after conveying his decision to quit as the CM’s advocate, Jethmalani also told the CM to settle his legal fee, which, by a conservative estimate, would be over Rs 2 crore. The Delhi government had, this February, cleared a payment of Rs 3.5 crore to Jethmalani, which included Rs 1 crore as retainer and Rs 22 lakh as fee for each appearance in court.