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Union Minister Arun Jaitley today accused AAP leader and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in the Delhi High Court of adopting delaying tactics in a defamation case by seeking to summon the minutes of meetings of the cricket body DDCA between 1999 and 2014.
Opposing Jaitley's contention, Kejriwal's counsel submitted that if there were no irregularities, why was the BJP leader opposing the summoning of the documents of the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA).
Joint Registrar Pankaj Gupta, after hearing the arguments of the counsel for Jaitley and Kejriwal, listed the matter for October 31 for seeking clarifications and pronouncing the order on the AAP leader's application.
Kejriwal had moved the plea in a defamation suit filed by the union minister against him and five other AAP leaders seeking Rs 10 crore as damages for allegedly levelling "defamatory" charges of irregularities in DDCA during Jaitley's tenure as its President.
During the hearing, advocate Manik Dogra, appearing for Jaitley, argued that by filing such an application, Kejriwal was adopting delaying tactics and trying to delay the proceedings.
He also said that for summoning documents, there should be some evidence of alleged irregularities and the papers cannot be summoned merely on the basis of accusations.
Senior advocate Anoop George Chaudhary, who appeared for Kejriwal, said if there are no irregularities, why was Jaitley opposing the summoning of the minutes of these meetings.
Kejriwal, in his application filed through advocate Anupam Srivastava, has said he wished to cross-examine Jaitley in the suit.
The hearing of this case had earlier witnessed high drama when the AAP leader's former counsel and senior advocate Ram Jethmalani had used some "objectionable and scandalous" words against the senior BJP leader.
64-year-old Jaitley, in his reply to the plea, had said that Kejriwal's application deserved to be dismissed as he has been trying to delay the proceedings by filing "frivolous" pleas, including the current one.
He had said the fresh plea was "not only a dilatory tactic but clearly a roving and fishing expedition".
The chief minister has sought to summon of the minutes of the meetings held by the General Body, the Executive Committee or the Board of Directors of the DDCA between 1999 and 2014. Jaitley was the DDCA President from 2000 to 2013.
Jaitley had said it was "evident that Kejriwal made per se defamatory statements against the plaintiff (and his family members). He (Kejriwal) earlier claimed that his statements were on the basis of documents available with him.
"It is abundantly clear that there was no basis for the defendant to have made said defamatory statements and he is now searching for sundry documents to buttress his defence".
Jethmalani's statement that scandalous words were used at the instance of Kejriwal, had led to Jaitley filing a separate Rs 10 crore civil defamation suit against the Chief Minister.
After this, Kejriwal had told the court that he had not instructed Jethmalani to use "scandalous" words against the union minister.
Besides Kejriwal, the five other accused in the suit are Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leaders Raghav Chadha, Kumar Vishwas, Ashutosh, Sanjay Singh and Deepak Bajpai. The AAP leaders had accused the BJP leader of corruption as the DDCA President.
Jaitley had denied all the allegations by the AAP leaders in December 2015 and also filed a civil defamation suit seeking Rs 10 crore damages from Kejriwal and the others, claiming they had made "false and defamatory" statements in a case involving DDCA, thereby harming his reputation.