Dissident Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Kumar Vishwas on Thursday told the Delhi High Court that his statements against union minister Arun Jaitley were based on the information received as a party worker from his leader Arvind Kejriwal.
Vishwas, who was present in person in court, told Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw that before making any statement or apology to Jaitley, he wants to know if Kejriwal lied earlier. He also wanted to know whether Kejriwal had lied before he apologised to Jaitley or whether the reason for his apology amounted to a lie.
The court on April 26 had asked Vishwas to be present in person to clarify whether he wanted to cross examine Jaitley in the defamation suit.
Vishwas is the only one against whom the defamation suit remains after Kejriwal and four other AAP leaders -- Raghav Chadha, Sanjay Singh, Ashutosh and Deepak Bajpai-- tendered unequivocal apology to Jaitley in a Rs 10 crore defamation suit filed against them by the Finance Minister.
Jaitley had lodged the defamation suit in December 2015 against Kejriwal and the five AAP leaders after they had alleged financial irregularities in the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) when the union minister was its president. The BJP leader had denied all the allegations.
Advocate Manik Dogra, appearing for Jaitley, refused to accept the stand of Vishwas that he towed the line of his party leader, saying that he too had in the past claimed to have seen documents while making the allegations.
"He cannot now say he was parroting what the others said," Dogra said and added that Vishwas too must apologise unequivocally as the others had done.
When asked by the judge whether he had any problem in apologising, Vishwas, who addressed the court in Hindi, said he regretted the damage and injury caused to Jaitley, but needed more time to decide what statement he can make to dispose of the suit.
Taking note of his request, the court listed the matter for further hearing on May 28.
The dissident AAP leader said that Kejriwal and others decided to apologise without including him in the decision-making process. He also that his queries to them, subsequent to their apology, have remained unanswered.
The high court had on April 3 closed the defamation suit against the Delhi Chief Minister and the four AAP leaders after a joint settlement plea was moved before it.
A similar plea was also moved on the same day before a trial court, which had acquitted the CM and others, except Vishwas, in the criminal defamation case.