Suspended BJP MP Kirti Azad has denied that he violated party discipline in his reply on Friday to a showcause notice issued to him for targeting Finance Minister Arun Jaitley over alleged irregularities in the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA).
Azad’s reply, which was sent a day after the notice was issued, included a three-page letter, a six-page copy of Lok Sabha proceedings, an 8,000-page document and four CDs.
In his reply, the Darbhanga MP reiterated that he had only been pursuing his battle against corruption in cricket and said that Jaitley, who headed the DDCA from 1999 to 2013, cannot use the “shield of party discipline” as the matter is linked to sports, not to the BJP. Azad’s reply was addressed to BJP general secretary Arun Singh.
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The BJP had suspended Azad last month for indiscipline after he held a press conference to level allegations of corruption in the DDCA and spoke on the issue in the Lok Sabha too. The party had endorsed Jaitley’s position after he denied the charges, saying he was not involved with the day-to-day administration of the organisation.
Sources close to Azad said he would also file a PIL on alleged irregularities in the DDCA with the assistance of BJP leader Subramanian Swamy, who is believed to have helped the MP draft his response to the showcause notice.
Sources said Azad built his defence around the argument that he had not named Jaitley or any other partyman on the issue and that the BJP did not depute Jaitley to be the DDCA head.
In the letter, he stated that he had told party chief Amit Shah and general secretary Ram Lal during a meeting that Jaitley was not BJP’s representative in the DDCA. He claimed that he had told Shah that he was willing to hand over all documents regarding irregularities in the DDCA in a joint meeting with Jaitley but got no response.
“Since neither called back, I assumed that a cricketing matter had no relation with any party activity and that I will be well within the norms of discipline if I did not name anybody in the party. I did not name Jaitley or any party person,” he said in the letter.
Taking on Jaitley directly, the 53-year-old former cricketer-turned-politician, who joined the BJP in 1993, stated in the reply: “Not one office-bearer apart from Jaitley has reason to feel aggrieved by my or the cricketers’ (Bishan Singh Bedi and others) complaint of wrongdoings in DDCA… I do not understand how an individual who has chosen to involve himself in activities that have no connection with the party can later claim the shield of party discipline when instances of wrongdoing in that body are raised and proved.”
The reply added: “In case he chose to be the DDCA president he was opening himself to all associated risks that are entitled in running an organisation and that he could not claim the shield of party position if he got implicated in any mismanagement, fraud and irregularity.”
The four video recordings attached to the reply include that of his press conference on December 20 in which he first publicly raised the allegation of corruption in the DDCA.
The MP also pointed out that he had been raising this issue for long and the three BJP presidents during that period also realised that cricket had no connection with party activities and Jaitley’s role in DDCA was his own concern. He challenged the BJP to present newspaper reports on his “attacks” on party’s leadership post BJP’s rout in Bihar “despite the rigorous campaign led by the Prime Minister” there.
He reminded the party that he had never “defamed” the party or its office bearers, as cited in Shah’s letter suspending him from primary membership of the party. “…I have been a loyal party soldier for last 22 years and I owe my success and identity to BJP.” He urged the leadership to “terminate the proposed disciplinary proceedings against me so that I may resume work as a proud member and MP of BJP”.