Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and four other leaders from his Aam Aadmi Party on Monday apologised to Arun Jaitley in connection with a defamation suit the finance minister filed against them in 2015.
In separate written apologies dated April 1, Kejriwal, Ashutosh, Sanjay Singh, Raghav Chadha and Deepak Bajpai offered their “sincere apology” to Jaitley and his family members “for any harm caused to your reputation”.
Jaitley sought Rs 10 crore in damages after the AAP leaders alleged that he had indulged in corruption during his 13-year tenure as the head of the Delhi and District Cricket Association, which ended in 2013.
Jaitley and Kejriwal have filed a joint application in a court in Delhi’s Patiala House Court complex to have the criminal defamation case withdrawn, The Times of India reported. The court will hear the matter on Tuesday.
The finance minister’s lawyer Manim Dogra told ANI that his client has “accepted their apology” in the criminal defamation case. He added that they will “agree to a decree” in the civil defamation suit based on the apology of the AAP leaders and consider accepting it then.
In his letter, Kejriwal also said that senior lawyer Ram Jethmalani’s comments against Jaitley in court were made without his consent. Jethmalani had called the finance minister a “crook” during a hearing in the case, after which Jaitley had filed a separate defamation case over those remarks. Jethamalani later stepped down as Kejriwal’s lawyer.
All five AAP leaders said their allegations were based on information from individuals who claimed to have knowledge about the working of the Delhi cricket association, and added that they “recently discovered” the information to be “unfounded and unwarranted”.
However, AAP founding member turned rebel Kumar Vishwas has not apologised yet.
Jaitley is believed to have accepted the other leaders’ apologies and has agreed to withdraw the defamation case, NDTV quoted a person in the know as saying.
The AAP leaders said that their apology to Jaitley is part of Kejriwal’s decision to “refocus” his time and energy on governance. The party said it was going to apologise to several people as it is facing dozens of defamation cases in court. Kejriwal earlier apologised to Akali Dal leader Bikram Singh Majithia, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari, and Congress leader Kapil Sibal.