Defamation case: Court to hear Kejriwal, Jaitley pleas: Top 10 developments

File photo of AAP convenor and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, who on Monday apologised to Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in an old defamation case. (Photo: PTI)
Union Minister Arun Jaitley and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Monday moved joint pleas before the Delhi High Court and the trial court to "settle" their litigation regarding alleged defamatory statements made against the BJP leader. The case is more than two years old. 

Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Samar Vishalvsaid said the court would take up the application filed by Jaitley and Kejriwal through their respective counsels on Tuesday.

Over the past fortnight, Kejriwal has tendered apologies to former Punjab minister and Shiromani Akali Dal leader Bikram Singh Majithia, and Union minister and former BJP President Nitin Gadkari, besides Congress leader Kapil Sibal and his son Amit Sibal for making "defamatory" comments.

According to PTI, those making small donations to the Aam Aadmi Party are also believed to have questioned the logic behind the apologies.

Jaitley had filed a civil defamation suit in December 2015 claiming Rs 100 million as damages. He had also lodged a criminal defamation case against Kejriwal for his remarks relating to alleged large-scale financial irregularities in the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) during his tenure as the president of the cricket body from 2000 to 2013.

Jaitley had on August 5 last year accused Kejriwal and other AAP leaders -- Kumar Viswas, Sanjay Singh, Raghav Chadha, Ashutosh and Deepak Bajpai -- of making a series of "false, scandalous and defamatory" allegations against him, claiming it adversely affected his reputation.

According to the first joint application in the high court, apart from Kejriwal, other AAP leaders -- Chadha, Singh, Ashutosh and Bajpai -- have tendered an "unqualified" apology for their statements against Jaitley and his family members in connection with the irregularities in DDCA and also "unequivocally" withdrawn their allegations.

Here are the top 10 developments around the issue involving Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal's apology spree and the defamation case slapped against him and others by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley:

1. AAP leaders not happy with apology"Kejriwal is our leader and whatever decision he has taken must have some logic behind it. But I personally disagree with the decision," said an MLA from South Delhi, requesting anonymity.

A volunteer from Mumbai, who also coordinates with donors in the state, said those giving funds to the party are also questioning the logic behind Kejriwal's apology spree.

"We are not able to convince party men and donors on the decision," the volunteer added.

2. Kumar Vishwas won't apologise: Poet and AAP leader Kumar Vishwas is not going to say sorry to Jaitley, according to a close aide of his. Consequently, the defamation proceedings against him will continue. The poet-politician had launched a veiled attack on Kejriwal over his apologies to Majithia, Sibal and Gadkari.

"Expert in dividing unity, an expert at chopping off his own roots, why to spit on the person who is himself ready to spit and take it back," Vishwas had tweeted in Hindi. 

3. Jaitley, Kejriwal move joint plea to settle defamation cases: A joint plea by Union Minister Arun Jaitley and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal was moved before a Delhi court on Monday seeking to settle the criminal defamation case filed by the former against the AAP convenor in the DDCA row.

4. Kejriwal, others apologise to Jaitley: Besides Arvind Kejriwal, AAP leaders Sanjay Singh, Ashutosh and Raghav Chadha too wrote similar letters to Finance Minister Arun Jaitley to apologise for their defamatory statements. Kejriwal's letter stated that he is sorry if his allegations hurt his family members. He said that he 'unequivocally' withdraws all allegations made on electronic and print media.

5. Kejriwal does not support Jethmalani remarks: Kejriwal washed his hands of the statements that senior advocate Ram Jethmalani had made against Jaitley while representing the Delhi Chief Minister in the case. Kejriwal writes that he did not approve of the 'disparaging' and 'malicious' statements made by Jethmalani and they weren't made on his behalf.

6. Let's work for the country: Ending the letter on a sentimental note, Kejriwal appealed that the Jaitley should stop the ''unsavoury litigations'' and "serve the country to the best of our abilities''. 

7. One less apology due now: Kejriwal has been dragged to courts by many, including former Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit. There are over 30 defamation cases against Kejriwal filed in different courts across the country.

8. Apologies to Sibal, GadkariKejriwal and Deputy CM Manish Sisodia wrote to Kapil Sibal and his son Amit, seeking apology for making "unfounded" allegation against them at a joint press conference they held in 2013. 

In identical letters they wrote, ''I have nothing personal against you. I regret the same. Let us put the incident behind us and bring the court proceedings to a closure.  Now, I have learnt that the allegation I made against you and your father at the press conference were unfounded. I hereby withdraw all my allegations made against you and your father and apologize for the same."

In a March 16 letter to Gadkari, Kejriwal said he was feeling sorry for making "certain statements, without regard to its verifiability, which seem to have hurt you."

9. AAP leaders resign over apology: Kejriwal's apology to former Punjab minister Bikram Singh Majithia triggered an upheaval in the state unit as AAP's Punjab unit president and co-president Bhagwant Mann and Aman Arora resigned their posts.

In a further jolt, the Lok Insaf Party (LIP), their ally in the state, announced to break its alliance with AAP in the wake of Kejriwal's apology.

10. Apology to Majithia first of a series: In a first of a string of apologies, Kejriwal had said sorry to Akali Dal leader Bikram Singh Majithia for alleging his involvement in the drug trade.