The AAP Thursday stepped up its attack on Finance Minister Arun Jaitley as it released documents pointing to alleged financial irregularities in the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA), which was once headed by the senior BJP leader.
A team of five AAP leaders — Ashutosh, Raghav Chadha, Sanjay Singh, Kumar Vishwas and Deepak Bajpai — quoted from reports of the Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO), the internal probe committee of the DDCA and a three-member Delhi government-appointed inquiry panel to allege that Jaitley was guilty of giving “direct and indirect consent” to “financial bungling” during his tenure as the cricket body’s chief.
Singh said that the “expose” on Thursday was just the beginning and “part two of the revelations will come soon”. As Jaitley came out with a strong rebuttal, AAP leader Kumar Vishwas said that he had “overheard” that a big agenda was planned against the party on Friday.
Key allegations made by the party pointed to “criminal breach of trust and cheating by DDCA and its office-bearers in making payments regarding the reconstruction of Feroze Shah Kotla Stadium, illegal sub-leasing of corporate boxes, forgery of age-verification certificates of over-aged players, deliberate corruption in the electoral system of DDCA, prima facie illegal payments, loans and advances made by DDCA, evasion of entertainment tax and potentially fatal fire hazards and other breaches of safety protocols pointed out by the Disaster Management Authority”.
“The reconstruction of the Feroz Shah Kotla stadium was carried out from 2002-2007 for which the initial budget was Rs 24 crore but it eventually ended up costing Rs 114 crore as per the reply furnished dated December 1, 2012 by DDCA to the Serious Frauds Investigation Office,” the party said.
“The bungling happened with the direct or indirect consent of Arun Jaitley during his tenure as DDCA chief. Prime Minister Narendra Modi must ask Jaitley to resign to ensure a fair probe as some of the competent agencies to investigate are under the Finance Ministry,” said Raghav Chadha, party spokesperson.
“Payments were made to five companies whose registered addresses were same and were headed by same director. There was duplication of funds and fictitious companies were paid for work they never did. The DDCA was a den of corruption under Jaitley… The CBI had come looking for few documents that are not yet in public domain. The raids were carried out in an attempt to intimidate the government,” Chadha alleged.
The party alleged that “it is apparent that the DDCA and its officers-in-charge are involved in a number of acts which are criminal offences and are otherwise unethical and contrary to the principles of a charitable company, much less of a sporting body”.
“The construction of the stadium is mired in allegations and there is at least prima facie material to conclude that the construction of the stadium has led to huge loss to the DDCA and to the government and public in general. Many of these facts have already been substantially brought on record by different statutory bodies. Further investigation is required into these facts to fix criminal culpability of the individuals in these continuing illegalities,” said a statement by the AAP.
The party said that the AAP government will shortly constitute a Commission of Inquiry on the matter for a detailed probe.
“The trend of defalcations, irregularities and illegalities in the DDCA extends back many years and inquiry/investigation needs to be conducted regarding the accounts and practices, financial and administrative, of the DDCA. It is on record that the statutory auditor of the DDCA is also facing criminal prosecution. In light of other allegations which are supported by compelling circumstantial evidence, a thorough and in-depth criminal investigation is required to identify the linkages between the parties which have led to a decade long list of infractions and also to establish culpability as well as to recover the money which has been siphoned off in one way or the other.”
Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Thursday tweeted, “The allegations against Jaitley ji are very, very serious. Amounts involved are huge. He should either resign or be removed to enable independent probe.”
“If Jaitley ji were let off without investigations on basis of his press denial, then should all coal and 2G accused also be similarly let off? Can Jaitley ji’s denial in press be taken as gospel truth? Very serious allegations against him. Why is he running away from investigations,” he tweeted.