A day after BJP MP Kirti Azad addressed a press conference alleging financial irregularities in Delhi District Cricket Association (DDCA), he demanded a “time-bound” SIT probe into the same, speaking in Lok Sabha. In a significant development on the floor of Parliament on Monday, Kirti Azad spoke right after Union Finance minister Arun Jaitley, battling allegations in DDCA issue, dismissed the charges against him as “baseless” and “wrong”. Later in the day, he moved Delhi court to file a defamation suit against the Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal and five other AAP leaders.
“The charges (against me) are baseless and wrong. This is all I have to say,” Arun Jaitley said, adding that the Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) report did not find any fault with the expenditure and accepted the cost incurred.
But his party MP Kirti Azad, in an unprecedented move, stood up and said that the SFIO probe had looked only into the civil matters and that recently a CBI had issued a notice to DDCA.
Congress party has been demanding Arun Jaitley’s resignation, especially in the light of allegations made by the Aam Aadmi Party last week. The Parliament on Monday witnessed pandemonium over the issue resulting in several adjournments in the Upper House.
Taking up the matter in the floor of Lok Sabha, Congress MP KC Venugopal claimed there were “gross irregularities” in DDCA when Arun Jaitley was at the helm.
“He (Jaitley) is also involved in the scam. We demand a JPC probe and resignation of Jaitley,” he said adding, “A construction work at Ferozshah Kotla had cost Rs 114 cr against the estimate of Rs 24 cr” and there “was no record of tender in many cases.”
“A laptop was hired for Rs 36,000 for a day, printer for Rs 3000 and a ‘puja ki thali’ for Rs 5,000 for a day. 14 companies did not exist or information about them was not correct,” the senior Congress MP said further.
The Finance Minister immediately rose to counter the charges explaining that Delhi did not have a stadium and DDCA proposed two measures to raise money as the BCCI infrastructure subsidy was limited to only Rs 4 cr. DDCA raised Rs 35 crores by selling advance tickets of corporate boxes and signage, he said, adding that by the time the money was raised, BCCI also hiked the subsidy to Rs 50 cr as it had begun earning more money.
As Congress party members raised their protest, he strongly rebutted them saying the Nehru stadium was renovated at a cost of Rs 900 cr and the Dhyanchand stadium for Rs 600 cr.
“You should have courage to listen. Why do you find my reply so inconvenient? It is not a charge against you,” he said as Congress MPs raised protest seeking his resignation.
But in an unprecedented development, BJP MP from Darbhanga, Kirti Azad added to the debate soon after Jaitley. As he stood up to speak, many BJP leaders were seen asking him to sit down.
“They (Congress) should demand a time-bound probe, CBI, SIT probe,” Kirti Azad said claiming that if everything was alright about DDCA works, then the CBI would not have given a notice to it on October 23.
In between the din, Union Parliamentary Affairs minister Venkaiah Naidu ruled out Arun Jaitley’s resignation saying, “the Finance Minister is known for his “impeccable character, honesty and maintaining high standards in public life”.
Soon after the exchange, the principal opposition party led by its chief Sonia Gandhi staged a walkout from Lok Sabha.
Earlier, the matter was strongly raised by the Congress party in Rajya Sabha as well with their members resorting to slogans and placards demanding Arun Jaitley’s resignation.
“I am not going to live by any vague statements…. If they have a single statement, let him (Azad) make it right now. I will answer it right now,” Jaitley said.
The Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad had alleged Rs 150 crore fraud, 14 bogus companies being floated and conflict of interest at DDCA.
(With inputs from the PTI)