Top lawyer Ram Jethmalani has come to the rescue of Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday, claiming that he will not charge the Delhi chief minister to defend him against finance minister Arun Jaitely's defamation lawsuit.
Jethmalani's offer comes after the case caused a huge uproar over reports that the Delhi government was allegedly trying to pay a 3.42-crore legal bill with taxpayer's money. "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 has been quoted as saying in reports.
"I charge only the rich but for poor I work for free. All this is instigated by Jailtley who's afraid of my cross-examination-Jethmalani."
Times Now reported that the Delhi government wants the taxpayer to pay the cost of Kejriwal's defence, running into crores.
According to documents accessed by Times Now, the bill raised by Jethmalani on December 1, 2016, quotes Rs 1 crore retainership for representing Kejriwal and an additional Rs 22 lakh per appearance. Jethmalani has made 11 appearances so far, leading to a total of Rs 3.42 crore -even before the cross examination stage is over.
The documents show that deputy CM Manish Sisodia wrote on a file on December 6, 2016, following the bill raised by Jethmalani's office, that it be cleared because the matter was linked to CBI raids on the CM's office on December 15, 2015, wherein several files were seized.
Reacting to the report on Ram Jethmalani's office raising a bill of Rs 3.42 crore for appearing for chief minister Arvind Kejriwal in the defamation case filed against him by Arun Jaitley, Aam Aadmi Party's Delhi convener, Dilip Pandey, said, “BJP is rattled after the EVM scam of Uttar Pradesh was exposed today by chief minister Arvind Kejriwal. It has now come to the knowledge of the general public how mass-scale rigging of EVMs was done. The BJP is now planting such baseless stories to cover up the scam and steer attention away from the issue of EVMs.“