Days after saying sorry to Punjab politician Bikram Majithia, Arvind Kejriwal apologised to Union Minister Nitin Gadkari for once calling him “one of the country’s most corrupt politicians”.
In a note to Nitin Gadkari, Mr Kejriwal admitted to “making unverified allegations” in 2014 and added, “I have nothing personal against you. I regret the same. Let us put the incident behind us and bring the court proceedings to a closure.” After the apology, they both submitted a joint application asking to withdraw the defamation case filed by Mr Gadkari.
Sources say Mr Kejriwal, the chief of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), intends to get rid of all 33 defamation cases against him through similar out of court settlements. The cases, say AAP leaders, have been a drain on the party’s much money and resources.
Sheila Dikshit and Ramesh Bidhuri are next.
Tangled up in cases, Mr Kejriwal is already in trouble with a section of his party for apologising to Bikram Majithia, an Akali Dal leader. The former minister had filed a criminal defamation case in 2016 against Mr Kejriwal and two other AAP leaders for targeting him over the problem of drugs in Punjab.
“I hereby withdraw all my statements and allegations made against you and apologise for the same,” Mr Kejriwal wrote to him last week.
Upset by the capitulation, AAP lawmaker Bhagwant Mann quit as the party’s Punjab unit chief and Aman Arora resigned as his deputy.
Among those on Mr Kejriwal’s “sorry” list is Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who filed a defamation case after the AAP chief accused him of corruption during his tenure as the president of Delhi’s cricket board DDCA.
Mr Jaitley went personally to court to file the case, along with three union ministers as witnesses. He also asked for Rs. 10 crore to compensate for what he called defamatory allegations.