Burden of Jethmalani's fees can't be thrust upon taxpayers of Delhi: Soli Sorabjee

New Delhi [India], Apr. 4 (ANI): Stating that the 'defamatory' comments were made by Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal against Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in his personal capacity, former Attorney General of India Soli Sorabjee on Tuesday said the burden of fees cannot be thrust upon the taxpayers of Delhi.

"Ram Jethmalani appeared for Kejriwal. The criminal complaint is against Kejriwal, not against the government. It's not part of the Chief Minister's duty to indulge in defamatory articles.So here also, the Chief Minister is not supposed to, as part of his official duty, make defamatory statements. If he has made them, he has made them in his personal capacity," Sorabjee told ANI.

Earlier today, Jethmalani said that he would work for free if the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) supremo cannot pay him his fees.

"Even now if the government doesn't pay or he can't pay, I will appear free. I will then treat him as one of my poor clients," Jethmalani told ANI in an exclusive conversation.

Venting his ire over reports suggesting that Delhi's Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal has sought Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar's advice in clearing the bills, the veteran lawyer said they are all in Jaitley's control.

Jethmalani, who is defending Kejriwal in both a criminal and a civil defamation case filed by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, has reportedly sent bills for Rs. one crore in retainership and Rs. 22 lakh for each appearance in court to the Delhi Chief Minister.

Jethmalani has made 11 appearances so far, leading to a total of Rs 3.42 crore.

Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia has signed off on the bills and sent them for clearance to the Lieutenant Governor, who has sought the opinion of experts on how to proceed.

Baijal's move comes after the Delhi Government's Law Department, responding to a note by Sisodia, said that Lieutenant Governor's permission for clearing the bills was necessary. (ANI)