New Delhi: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday sought Prime Minister Narendra Modi's resignation for ordering the CBI to raid his office, even as Modi declared that Finance Minister Arun Jaitley would come out in flying colours from the DDCA corruption charges.
Addressing a special session of the Delhi assembly, Kejriwal launched his most scathing attack on Modi while simultaneously asking him to sack Jaitley from the cabinet for his involvement in the financial bungling in Delhi's cricket board - a charge Jaitley has denied.
The Congress also sought Jaitley's resignation from the cabinet for the sake of his "dignity and honour".
"I demand Prime Minister Modi's resignation for the fraudulent raid he ordered to save Arun Jaitley," the AAP leader said to thumping of desks by his party colleagues.
Arvind Kejriwal. File pic
"He should feel ashamed," Kejriwal thundered, referring to Modi and the December 15 raid by the Central Bureau of Investigation, which has denied searching Kejriwal's office and said that it only targeted his principal secretary Rajendra Kumar for corruption.
The Delhi High Court meanwhile issued notice to Kejriwal and five other Aam Aadmi Party leaders in a defamation suit filed by Jaitley, who headed the Delhi and District Cricket Association for 13 long years and who has sought Rs.10 crore in damages from the AAP leaders.
The court sought replies from Kejriwal, Kumar Vishwas, Raghav Chadha, Ashutosh, Sanjay Singh and Deepak Bajpai by February 5. Jaitley will then file his reply in two weeks.
The court also asked Kejriwal and other leaders to file original documents relating to the allegations they have made against Jaitley.
Jaitley has also filed a criminal defamation complaint, saying the AAP leaders' statements would cause "irreversible damage" to his reputation.
Addressing BJP MPs earlier in the day, Modi said Jaitley would come out in "flying colours" from the episode -- just as veteran BJP leader L.K. Advani did when he was charged in the hawala case in the 1990s.
Modi said the Congress was unable to digest its electoral defeats since the 2014 Lok Sabha elections and was raking up manufactured allegations to defame his government.
BJP MP Kirti Azad, who has been alleging major corruption in the DDCA for years, did not attend the parliamentary party meeting, saying he had prior engagements. There is speculation the BJP was set to suspend Azad.
The prime minister's comments came a day after Bharatiya Janata Party president Amit Shah described Jaitley as a man of honesty and integrity.
The Rajya Sabha's working was repeatedly disrupted on Tuesday -- four times before lunch -- over the DDCA affair as Congress MPs shouted slogans against the government. The Lok Sabha's proceedings too were marred.
Kejriwal told the Delhi assembly that the CBI raided his office - the CBI denies this happened - because he claimed it was looking for a file on the DDCA severely critical of Jaitley.
If Jaitley was indeed innocent, he should prove this to the Commission of Inquiry set up by the Delhi government, he said.
"The CBI said the chief minister was not raided... Only his principal secretary's office was. If this is true, why did they enter my office?"
Kejriwal also accused Modi of constantly interfering in the functioning of the AAP government through Lt. Governor Najeeb Jung.
He alleged that despite 50 hours of interrogation spread over six days, the CBI had not been able to build a case of corruption against Rajendra Kumar. "They are mentally torturing him."
Kejriwal poked fun at Modi for wearing a Rs.10 lakh suit last year, and demanded to know how a "chai wala" (tea seller) could afford such a costly suit.