Even as he blamed Finance Minister Arun Jaitley for the mess in the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA), suspended BJP MP Kirti Azad today held top Congress leaders responsible for diluting the charges of corruption against the capital’s cricket officials.
Calling the BCCI a “united alliance” of politicians, Azad alleged that former UPA ministers Rajeev Shukla and Naveen Jindal, and former Delhi minister Arvinder Singh Lovely did not take a serious view of financial irregularities in the association. All three Congress leaders were government nominees in the DDCA at the time.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Azad said, “Government nominees were sitting there when all this was happening. So obviously, they also were in cahoots with these people, because if you look at the Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) report, it is contradictory in nature. It talks about 62 violations of law, and then says it is irregularities. I can’t understand how 62 violations is not tantamount to fraud. The SFIO report has been diluted. Why? Because of the government nominees who were there of the Congress during that time.”
The SFIO report submitted in March 2013, which dealt with the allegations levelled by Azad, stated: “There are irregularities/non-compliance of technical violations of Companies Act 1956, noticed during the course of inspection as alleged by Shri Azad….”
Shukla and Jindal did not respond to calls and text messages from The Indian Express seeking comment. Lovely said, “There was so much infighting within the DDCA that unfortunately, I never attended a single meeting. I had even lodged a formal complaint about this. I have stayed away from all DDCA affairs.”
Responding to the BJP notice on his suspension, charging that he “colluded with opposition parties, including Congress and AAP, and embarrassed the party and its office bearers”, Azad denied allegations that he had raised the DDCA issue in the Lok Sabha at the behest of Congress president Sonia Gandhi.
“According to procedure for conduct of business in the Lok Sabha, rule 350 says and I will quote it ‘when a member rises to speak, the name of such a member will be called by the speaker. If more members than one rises at the same time, the name of the member whose name has been called will be entitled to speak’. So I spoke because I mentioned to the honourable speaker that people from the opposition benches had taken my name,” said Azad.
The Darbhanga MP added that he was only supporting his own party’s stand against corruption. “I said if my government is not serious in fighting against corruption, why did they send four notices to the DDCA since October 23? The latest one is asking about unauthorised construction and IPL contracts. These are the CBI notices, I wasn’t being anti-party but I was speaking for the government. Since we are serious about finishing corruption, this is what I said,” he said.
Azad said he wasn’t targeting Jaitley nor did he mention his name in the Parliament. But he indicated that he wasn’t in a mood to mend fences with the Finance Minister. “…the notices (from CBI) have been given since 2008 to 2013 when he (Jaitley) was the president. If you look into the memorandum of association and articles of association, there is nothing known as non-executive president. If you are a non-executive president then why are you chairing the AGMs and why have you signed the balance sheet?”
Azad, however, added that this wasn’t a personal battle. “I have nothing against him. It is the right question to the wrong person. When the coal scam took place we said the ministry was under him (former PM Manmohan Singh). He may or may not have been involved but it is a different thing. He has to take vicarious responsibility, moral and collective,” said Azad.
The member of the 1983 World Cup-winning team said that he supported sports and wasn’t involved in any anti-party activity. “I have full respect for the party and my president but a lot of things are classified. He definitely asked me not to speak but I said it is not a party matter. It has been going on for the past nine years. No president (BJP) took note of it. For the simple reason they never thought it was a party matter. If at all it was, then IPL should have also been a party matter. Lots of corruption has taken place in the IPL. BCCI should also be a party matter. For that Hockey India should be a party matter. So all these things were there that I had informed.”
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