Arun Jaitley was a prominent Indian politician who had also served as a senior advocate of the Supreme Court of India and various other High Courts in India. Starting his political career from ABVP, he had served on many important cabinet portfolios in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee and the Narendra Modi Government.
Arun Maharaj Kishen Jaitley was born on Sunday, 28 December 1952 (age 66 years; at the time of death) in New Delhi. His zodiac sign is Capricorn.
He did his schooling from the St. Xavier’s School, New Delhi in 1973. He pursued B.Com (Honours) from the Shri Ram College of Commerce, New Delhi. After his graduation, he obtained a Bachelor of Laws degree in 1977, from the Faculty of Law, University of Delhi, New Delhi.
In college, he was a member of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), and a student leader. In 1974, he contested and won the election for the post of the President of the Delhi Student’s Union. His election, as the President, marked the end of an era, where the Congress Party had a stronghold over the university campuses. Once in an interview, he stated-
My election as an ABVP candidate marked a watershed in the student politics of the country”
On 25 June 1975, during the Emergency period of 1975-1977, he saw a policeman talking to his father outside his house. Jaitley was an activist of the ABVP at the time, and he had been selected by Jayaprakash Narayan as the convener of his youth committee- “The Loktantrik Yuva Morcha”. Jaitley escaped his house, and the next day he organized a protest. At the time of organizing the protest, he did not know that the Emergency had been imposed, and he gathered 300 people. Mass arrests were made by the police. Jaitley was jailed for 19 months, in the Ambala Jail and Tihar Jail.
Height: 5′ 7″ (approx.)
Weight: 65 kg (approx.)
Eye Colour: Black
Hair Colour: Black (semi-bald)
Family, Wife & Caste
Arun Jaitley belonged to a Punjabi Brahmin family. His father, Maharaj Kishen Jaitley, was a lawyer. His mother, Ratan Prabha Jaitley, was a social activist. He had an elder sister, Madhu Bhargava. He got married to Sangeeta Dogra on 24 May 1982. He had two children, Rohan and Sonali.
Arun Jaitley had started practising law in 1977. He practised in many High Courts, and also in the Supreme Court of India. He used to represent multinational corporations such as PepsiCo, Coca-Cola, and the Aditya Birla Group. He was appointed as the Additional Solicitor General of India in 1989. In January 1990, he was designated as a senior advocate by the Delhi High Court. In June 1998, he was sent as a delegate of the Government of India, to the United Nations General Assembly Session, where the Declaration of Law relating to drugs and money laundering was approved.
The High Courts of Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, and Uttarakhand were inaugurated under his guidance. He had famous clients such as Sharad Yadav, Lal Krishna Advani, Madhavrao Scindia, and many more. Jaitley had filed and worked on the paperwork and helped security agencies for the Bofors Scandal investigations. In 2002, Jaitley passed the 84th Amendment to the Constitution of India; it enabled the freezing of Parliamentary seats until 2026. He passed the 91st Amendment to the Constitution of India in 2004; which penalised defections. Arun Jaitley stopped practising law on 3 June 2009; as he was appointed the Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha.
Arun Jaitley joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in 1980. He was appointed as the President of the BJP’s Youth Wing, and the secretary of the Delhi Unit. He was included in the National Executive Body of the BJP in 1991. On 13 October 1999, he was appointed as the Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting (Independent Charge), and the Minister of State for Disinvestment (Independent Charge) in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee Government. In 1999, just before the General Elections, Jaitley was appointed as the spokesperson for the BJP. On 23 July 2000, he was given the additional charge of the Ministry of Law, Justice, and Company Affairs; after Ram Jethmalani had resigned from the post.
In the year 2000, he was elected as a member of the Rajya Sabha, for the first time, from Gujarat. In November 2000, Jaitley was elevated as a Cabinet Minister. He was appointed as the Minister of Law, Justice, and Company Affairs, and the Minister of Shipping. He resigned as the Minister of Shipping from 1 September 2001. He resigned as the Union Minister of Law, Justice, and Company Affairs on 1 July 2002; to join as the General Secretary and the national spokesperson of the BJP. On 29 January 2003, he rejoined the Cabinet as the Minister of Commerce & Industry, and the Minister of Law & Justice.
In 2004, when the NDA lost the General Elections, Jaitley resumed his role as the General Secretary and the National spokesperson of the BJP. He was re-elected as a member of the Rajya Sabha in 2006 and 2012 from Gujarat. On 3 June 2009, he was chosen as the Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha by Lal Krishna Advani. On 16 June 2009, he resigned from the post of the General Secretary of the BJP; due to the BJP’s One Man One Post Principle. As the Leader of the Opposition, he played a crucial role during the discussion of the Women’s Reservation Bill. He also supported Anna Hazare’s “Jan Lokpal Bill” in the Rajya Sabha.
Jaitley had never contested an election since he had joined the BJP in 1991. He contested his first election in 2014 from the Amritsar Lok Sabha Constituency, against Amarinder Singh. He lost the election, but he was appointed as the Union Finance Minister of India in the Narendra Modi Government. He was also given the additional charge of the Minister of Corporate Affairs and the Minister of Defence.
In September 2016, he announced the Income Declaration Scheme; a scheme started to unearth black money, and bring it back to India. During his term as the Finance Minister, the Government demonetised the Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000 banknotes of the Mahatma Gandhi Series. It was done to prevent corruption, black money, and fake currency. The Government also introduced new banknotes of Rs. 500 and Rs. 2000.
In December 2014, Arun Jaitley successfully introduced the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill in the Parliament. In February 2015, he set a deadline of 1 April 2017, to implement GST. In August 2016, after an Amendment Bill was passed, the GST Bill was agreed upon by the opposition. It was then sent to the former President of India, Pranab Mukherjee, for his assent. The GST was launched on 1 July 2017, by the President of India and the Government of India, in the central hall of the Parliament. The launch was scheduled for a midnight session, and it was attended by many high-profile guests including Ratan Tata and Mukesh Ambani. In 2018, he was elected as a Rajya Sabha member from Uttar Pradesh.
In May 2019, the BJP won the General Elections with a majority. Many media houses speculated that Arun Jaitley will be the Union Finance Minister again. On 29 May 2019, a day before the swearing-in ceremony, Arun Jaitley wrote a letter to Narendra Modi; requesting him not to include him in his Cabinet. He stated that he should be allowed some time off, to focus on his health and treatment.
I have today written a letter to the Hon’ble Prime Minister, a copy of which I am releasing: pic.twitter.com/8GyVNDcpU7
— Arun Jaitley (@arunjaitley) May 29, 2019
- When he was the president of the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) from 1999 to 2013, he faced allegations that he was involved in the financial irregularities. The AAP chief, Arvind Kejriwal accused him of irregularities and mismanagement.
- In September 2012, Arun Jaitley warned the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on corruption cases against political leaders and the policemen of Gujarat. He stated-
“The cases filed against political leaders and the top policemen are an utter misuse of the CBI and they (cases) would not stand in any court of law”
- In January 2019, Jaitley accused the CBI of “investigative adventurism” in regards to the ICICI Bank-Videocon fraud case. The CBI had named former ICICI Bank MD Chanda Kochhar and her husband Deepak Kochhar, as the beneficiaries of the financial fraud. Jaitley stated that naming corrupt bank officials will not help in the investigation, but going after the real people who were responsible would help the case.
- Food(s): Amritsari Kulcha, Punjabi Cuisines
- Sports: Hockey, Tennis, Soccer, Cricket, Kabaddi
- Economist: Ben Bernanke
- Destination(s): Switzerland, Austria, Kashmir
He had been suffering problems since his kidney transplant surgery in May 2018. In February 2019, he had been diagnosed with a rare form of Soft-tissue sarcoma, and he was undergoing treatment for it in the U.S. On 9 August 2019, Arun Jaitley was admitted to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi after he complained of breathlessness and restlessness. His condition was critical and reportedly on 17 August 2019, he was kept on life-support and was placed in hospital’s Cardio-Neuro-Centre. His health kept deteriorating and on 24 August 2019, at 12:07 PM (IST), he passed away. AIIMS issued a statement informing about his death.
His body was kept at his Delhi residence, and then at the BJP headquarters, for people to pay their last respects. His last rites and cremation took place on 25 August 2019 at the Nigambodh Ghat in New Delhi with full state honours, and his casket was wrapped in the national flag.
Awards, Honours & Achievements
- On 13 October 2015, Arun Jaitley was named as the “Finance Minister of the Year (Asia)”, by a London Publication named Emerging Markets.
- On 5 September 2017, he was awarded the “Business Reformer and Policy Change Maker Agent of the Year”, by the ET Awards.
- On 16 March 2019, he was presented with the “Change Maker of the Year” Award, by “The Business Line”, for his contributions towards GST. Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh presented the award to Arun Jaitley.
Today GST COUNCIL got BUSINESS LINE-CHANGE MAKER OF YEAR AWARD. Presented to Finance Minister Shri @arunjaitley by Dr Manmohan Singh.
Gabbar Singh Tax, Rahul Gandhi? pic.twitter.com/TZO0gMT2e3
— BJP (@BJP4India) March 15, 2019
6, Tapas Bungalows, Prahlad Nagar, Ahmedabad, Gujarat
Arun Jaitley has a Toyota Fortuner (2011 Model), and 2 Mercedes-Benz cars (a 2017 & a 2012 Model).
Assets & Properties
- Cash: Rs. 11.53 Lacs
- Bank Deposits: Rs. 1.14 Crores
- Jewellery: 3154 gms of gold worth Rs. 81.46 Lacs; 15.80 kg of Silver worth Rs. 6.04 Lacs; Diamonds worth Rs. 45 Lacs
- Non-agricultural land: Worth Rs. 90 Lacs in Faridabad, Haryana
- Commercial Building: Worth Rs. 6 Crores in Gurugram, Haryana
- Residential Buildings: 6 buildings worth Rs. 28.70 Crore in Delhi, Gurugram, Punjab, and Gujarat
Net Worth & Salary
Net Worth: 111.42 Crores INR (as in 2018)
Salary: 1 Lac INR + Additional Allowances (as a Member of the Rajya Sabha)
- During the Partition of India, his father, Maharaj Kishen Jaitley, migrated to India from Lahore (Pakistan).
- In childhood, Jaitley had resented Jawaharlal Nehru, because he thought that Jawaharlal Nehru caused the Partition of India due to which, hundreds of thousands of people suffered.
- He had five uncles and two aunts; four of his uncle were lawyers.
- During a young age, he used to go to the disco with his friends. However, he did not know how to dance, even then he usually had gone to the disco. At that time, only one disco, ‘Seller’ used to be in Delhi.
- He was fond of watching movies during the 1960s. According to his friend, Ranjit Kumar (former Solicitor General of India), “We used to keep chatting, cracking jokes. Mr Jaitley had an elephantine memory and we all were envious of that. If he would describe a song or a scene from a movie in the 1960s, it would be with every minute detail.”
- He considered Jayaprakash Narayan as his mentor.
- He had a fear of driving cars this is why he never had driven the car. However, he loved owning new branded cars. Earlier, his wife, Sangeeta Jaitley, used to drive him and later, he had a chauffeur.
- Jaitley wanted to become a Chartered Accountant (CA) in his younger days.
- He used to go for a walk regularly in the morning in the Lodhi Garden, New Delhi. In 2005, during a walk in New Delhi’s Lodhi Garden, he had suffered heart stroke. He was driven to a nearby hospital by his friend, Ranjit Kumar.
- He had met Narendra Modi during his college time, in the late 1970s. Arun Jaitley had helped Modi win the 2002 and 2007 Gujarat Assembly Elections.
- His wife, Sangeeta Jaitley, is a daughter of late Girdhari Lal Dogra who served as the Finance Minister for 26 years in the Government of Jammu & Kashmir.
- His niece and nephew are Indian television actors, Ridhi Dogra and Akshay Dogra.
- He had been the principal strategizer for the BJP. During a crisis or situation, Modi always took Arun Jaitley’s advice. Jaitley was one of the first few people in the BJP to suggest Narendra Modi’s name for the Prime Minister of India, before the 2014 General Elections.
- Narendra Modi could not attend the funeral of Arun Jaitley due to his France visit. Upon hearing about his death, he talked to his family and had offered to come back, but his family insisted that he should stay there and focus on his work. Modi also tweeted about how he lost a dear friend-
With the demise of Arun Jaitley Ji, I have lost a valued friend, whom I have had the honour of knowing for decades. His insight on issues and nuanced understanding of matters had very few parallels. He lived well, leaving us all with innumerable happy memories. We will miss him!
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) August 24, 2019
- In September 2019, the Feroz Shah Kotla stadium was renamed after him in his honour as ‘Arun Jaitley Stadium.’