India finance minister sues Delhi CM

New Delhi, December 21

India’s finance minister today filed a defamation suit against Delhi’s leader who had accused him of large-scale corruption in his former role as head of the capital’s cricket association.

Arun Jaitley personally went to a Delhi court under tight security to sue Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and five other members of his Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) for making “false and defamatory” statements against him and his family members.

The minister sought 100 million rupees ($1.5 million) in damages over Kejriwal’s “baseless and wrong” allegations that he misused funds during his 13-year tenure as president of the Delhi and District Cricket Association that ended in 2013.

“Jaitley has not taken any pecuniary advantage from DDCA at all. There are DDCA records which can be summoned,” his lawyer Siddharth Luthra told the court, according to the Press Trust of India.

“These statements by the AAP leaders are politically motivated,” he added. A bitter war of words erupted between the two last week when federal investigators raided Kejriwal’s Delhi office in connection with a corruption case involving his principal secretary.

Kejriwal in turn accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of waging a political vendetta and branded him as “a coward and a psychopath”, alleging officers were sent to find files related to “the DDCA scam that implicates Jaitley”.

Jaitley has since rejected the claims repeatedly and has described them as the chief minister’s “propaganda technique to deflect attention when you yourselves are in the dock”.

Kejriwal hit back at the minister on Twitter after the criminal and civil suits, asking Jaitley to prove his innocence to an independent enquiry committee.

“Jaitley should not try to intimidate us with court cases. Our fight against corruption will continue,” he posted.

The party of the firebrand activist-turned-politician seized power in February on the platform of providing a corruption-free government in the capital.

But Kejriwal has faced flak several times from opponents over a series of scandals involving his party members.

In October he sacked one of his ministers for alleged bribe-taking, months after his law minister resigned following his arrest for acquiring a fake law degree.