With the AAP levelling allegations of irregularities against him in the affairs of the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) which he once headed, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley hit back at Arvind Kejriwal Thursday, calling the attack on him a “propaganda technique to deflect attention” when the Chief Minister himself is “in the dock”.
He also asked West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar to”redeem themselves by publicly distancing themselves from Mr Kejriwal’s vocabulary (against the Prime Minister)”. The two CMs had described the CBI raid on the Delhi Secretariat as an attack on federalism.
The BJP rallied behind Jaitley saying the allegations against him were a “blasphemous and preposterous campaign bordering on political hysteria”.
The party rejected the AAP demand for his resignation, calling it “absurd”.
Speaking to reporters after the AAP attacked Jaitley for the “huge financial bungling” at the DDCA during his chairmanship, HRD Minister Smriti Irani said: “A leader with impeccable credentials who has defended the Constitution inside Parliament and in different courts stands to be defamed by a blasphemous, preposterous and hysterical campaign.”
Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu told reporters outside Parliament House: “There is no question of resignation of Arun Jaitley. They (AAP) are playing their political cards as this is no issue.”
Jaitley took to Facebook to reject the AAP’s charges: “No personal allegation was ever made against me nor did I ever feel the need of contradicting it.”
Referring to letters by his party colleague Kirti Azad, who had raised questions on the DDCA’s affairs during Jaitley’s term (he did not name Azad), Jaitley said in a post: “The UPA government seized upon the opportunity and referred the complaints to the SFIO which investigated all his complaints over a period of time and submitted a detailed report on 21st March 2013. The report concluded in relation to the DDCA being registered under the Companies Act, that ‘thus, in a nutshell, there are certain irregularities/non-compliance or technical violations, but no fraud (was) noticed as alleged’.”
“I have felt the need for stating the above in order to counter any unsubstantiated, non-specific allegations. I left cricket administration in 2013. By referring to some facts of 2014 and 2015, he (Kejriwal) can’t drag me in.”
According to Jaitley, the allegations against him by AAP was “a part of propaganda technique to deflect attention” when Kejriwal himself is in the dock. “Finding himself acting as a shield to cover an officer under investigation, the Delhi Chief Minister has attempted to focus attention on me,” he said.
Jaitley also had a swipe at chief ministers Mamata Banerjee and Nitish Kumar who had called the CBI raid on the Delhi Secretariat as a violation of federalism. “Federalism is not a one-way stream. It is not always that the Union Government challenges the spirit of federalism. A State or a Union Territory, by its unacceptable conduct, can also be a threat to federalism,,” he said.
“If the Union Government were to consider using against the Delhi Chief Minister the adjectives that Mr Kejriwal used against the Prime Minister, it would be legitimate to contend that this is not in consonance with the federal spirit. When two Chief Ministers, Mamata Banerjee Ji and Nitish Kumar Babu, supported Mr Kejriwal, notwithstanding the use of highly objectionable words against the Prime Minister, can it be in consonance with the federal spirit?”
He said the two CMs “need to redeem themselves by publicly distancing themselves from Mr Kejriwal’s vocabulary.”
Jaitley maintained that the CBI raid on the office of the Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister had nothing to do with the Chief Minister or his room.