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Jaitley's Defamation Suit: HC Dismisses AAP Leader's Plea

Published: 08th February 2016 03:17 PM  |   Last Updated: 08th February 2016 03:17 PM   |  A+A-

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By PTI

NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court today dismissed a plea of AAP spokesperson Deepak Bajpai seeking rejection of a defamation suit filed against him by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.

A bench of Justice Vipin Sanghi dismissed the plea of the AAP leader, who had contended that Jaitley in his defamation suit has not made any specific averments against him and thus, he should be removed as a defendant.

The suit was filed against Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and five other AAP leaders, including Bajpai, by Jaitley in the backdrop of attacks on him over alleged irregularities and financial bunglings in Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) of which he was the President between 1999 and 2013.

During the arguments today, senior advocate H S Phoolka, who appeared for Bajpai, said, "No averments against defendent 6 (Bajpai) is made out in the plaint even as per the documents referred to in the plaint."

He said that this plaint is liable to be rejected as it is not supported by the affidavit of the plaintiff (Jaitley).

"In defamation case there have to be specific averments but here it is absolutely nothing," Phoolka said.

The court then queried, "In the plaint the plaintiff has repeatedly said 'all defendents', so it doesn't mean that the plaint should exclusively mention defendent 6."

Phoolka replied, "Wherever the plaint has said 'all defendents', it does not constitute a case of defamation against him. These are all narrations. The plaint does not construe the cause of action against defendent 6."

Senior advocate Rajiv Nayar, who represented Jaitley, said that the plaint has specifically mentioned that the defamatory statements were made both individually and collectively as part of a conspiracy.

He further said that the Twitter handle of Bajpai made several defamatory statements against Jaitley.

"It was a conspiracy through concerted action to defame the plaintiff and same thread of allegations were made by other defendents," Nayar said.

Jaitley has sought Rs 10 crore in damages from Kejriwal and the five leaders -- Raghav Chadha, Kumar Vishwas, Ashutosh, Sanjay Singh and Bajpai, for issuing allegedly false and defamatory statements against him and his family in connection with alleged irregularities in DDCA when he was its President.

Jaitley had on February 5 told the high court that all the six AAP leaders had "calculated" a defamatory campaign against him and his family members with "ulterior motive" to get political mileage.

Jaitley, in his response to written statements by Kejriwal and others, had contended that the "defendants, individually and collectively, in a calculated manner launched a per se defamatory campaign against plaintiff (Jaitley) and his family members for gaining political mileage and ulterior motives".

The same day, Bajpai had moved an application for his name to be removed as a defendant, saying there were no specific averments against him in the suit.

Kejriwal had on January 12 filed a written statement in the high court claiming that by filing the defamation suit, Jaitley attempted to "browbeat the defendants into silence and dissuade them from drawing attention to the mismanagement and rampant financial irregularities plaguing DDCA".

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