Kejriwal's legal bills: BJP calls it 'loot'

NEW DELHI: The BJP on Tuesday slammed the Delhi government's bid to clear Rs 3.42 crore bill related to a defamation case against Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal even as the AAP government strongly defended the move.

Union ministers Prakash Javadekar and Kiren Rijiju hit out at Delhi government's bid to foot Kejriwal's legal bills calling it a "dacoity and loot" of the people's money.

Union minister Prakash Javadekar alleged that Kejriwal was taken to court+ by Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley for his "personal crime" and the Delhi government's decision is against the law and rules of the government.

"It's illegal and immoral. Why should the people of Delhi pay for your (Kejriwal) sins? This is a dacoity and loot of their money and is completely unacceptable," he said at a press conference.

Javadekar said Jaitley had paid Rs 10 lakh stamp duty from his pocket and has been paying the bills of his lawyers as well.

He alleged that Kejriwal's politics is based on defaming others and people should not pay for his "sins".

The BJP leader accused the AAP of first denying such a proposal and said it is now claiming that the government wants to pay it as the case is against the chief minister.

"The fact is the case is not against a chief minister but an individual. His actions have nothing to do with the government. He has tried to defame Jaitley and his family members and will have to pay for it," he said.

Union minister Kiren Rijiju also criticised the Delhi government's move and said no chief minister has ever burdened the exchequer to fight his own case.

"I just can't recall any other chief minister who has ever burdened the exchequer to save himself or promote himself," he told reporters here, reacting to the city government's move to pay around Rs 3 crore to top lawyer Ram Jethmalani+ .

However, the AAP leaders defended government's decision and said it is not a personal legal battle of Kejriwal.

AAP leader and deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia+ said the case is a follow-up of a probe ordered by the Delhi government to clean up corruption in cricket administration in the city. "The government will fight the case," he said.

Another AAP leader, Ashish Khetan, also strongly defended Kejriwal.

In a series of tweets, Khaitan said Jaitley is a "rich man" so he can afford expensive lawyers.

Khaitan further said, "What is most important that large retainership fee was paid to @arunjaitley at a time when Anil Ambani & his companies were mired in 2G scam."

The Delhi government has reportedly made a proposal to pay a bill of close to Rs 4 crore sought by Kejriwal's lawyer but Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal has sought Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar's advice in the matter.