A fine if Rs.10,000 has been imposed on AAP leader Ashutosh by a Delhi court “for trying to derail proceedings” in a criminal defamation case filed against him by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley by looking for a re-recording of Jaitley’s statement In Hindi. The court said that Ashutosh did not have even the slightest discomfort in understanding English.
The case had been filed in 2015 by the current Finance Minister against Mr. Ashutosh and other major AAP leaders, which include Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal, Kumar Vishwas, Sanjay Singh, Raghav Chadha and Sanjay Singh for supposedly holding Arun Jaitley responsible for financial irregularities during his tenure as president of the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) from 2000 to 2013.
The Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Deepak Sherawat dismissed Mr. Ashutosh’s recording and said that it was a deliberate attempt to delay the proceedings of the court and waste the court’s valuable time. The judge also pointed out that the application was itself filed in English and the applicant is author of a well-known English book and does interviews in English regularly on several news channels. The amount of Rs.10,000 was directly deposited to the ‘Army Welfare Fund Battle Casualties’.
The court also said that the obtaining the recording in Hindi is impossible due to the technical constraints created due to the computers running on English software.
Senior advocate Sidharth Luthra and advocate Manoj Taneja opposed the application on Mr. Jaitley’s behalf, who had earlier held all the above-mentioned AAP leaders accountable for making a numbers of claims that were completely untrue and put Mr. Jaitley in a wrong light.
All the people facing charges in these matters had pleaded not guilty when they were put on trial on March 25, 2017. The charges were filed under section 500 (punishment for defamation) of the Indian Penal Code. Notably, Mr. Jaitley had also filed a civil defamation suit in the Delhi High Court asking for Rs. 10 crores in damages.