BJP MP Kirti Azad embarrassed the government once again Monday, saying the Opposition should demand a “time-bound” probe into alleged irregularities in the Delhi and District Cricket Association and “an SIT over the CBI”. He did not take Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s name when he mentioned “the president (of DDCA) from 2008 to 2013” but said the matter will get clearer following a probe.
Azad was seated on an aisle seat four rows behind Jaitley when the latter dismissed charges raised by the Congress, which had demanded the minister’s resignation and a probe by a joint parliamentary committee. Once Jaitley had spoken, Azad agreed “there is no doubt that this stadium (Feroz Shah Kotla) was made at Rs 114 crore and Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium was renovated at Rs 900 crore”, and said “we are witnessing the fate of those people who did that for that much money”.
“But,” Azad added, I want to tell the honorable House that what the SFIO (Serious Fraud Investigation Office) did was a civil proceeding. Now, our government is fighting corruption fully. If it was not fighting corruption, then our government would not have given on October 23 a CBI notice to DDCA for the years 2008 to 2013… in which whatever irregular or criminal is there… all those matters will come out including that of the IPL and the (corporate) boxes.”
He added, “Us samay varsh 2008 se 2013 tak adhyaksh… toh yeh mamla samne aa hi jayega… kya hai kya nahin hain (At that time, the president from 2008 to 2013… this will become clear). I think they should demand this should be time-bound… by having a SIT over the CBI… so that everything is revealed in three or four months.”
After Azad completed his remarks, the Congress walked out of the House.
Earlier, K C Venugopal of the Congress, who had raised the matter, referred to Azad’s press conference Sunday when he “came out with a new video alleging corruption in the DDCA” and wherein “he said that the former president of DDCA and the present finance minister was aware of the irregularities”.
“During the course of investigation, on December 1, 2012, the DDCA conceded to the SFIO that for the reconstruction of the stadium between 2002 and 2007, the initial budget was Rs 24 crore but eventually it ended up costing Rs 114 crore. There is a clear boom of cost escalation by Rs 90 crore,” Venugopal said. He said the investigation had “revealed there was no record of tender for most of the contracts issued by DDCA for the construction”. “. DDCA illegally constructed ten corporate boxes at the stadium and has sub-leased these boxes for 10 years to corporates for a collective amount of approximately Rs 36 crore.”
In the Rajya Sabha, Leader of the Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad raised the DDCA issue. His allegations included a Rs 150 crore fraud, 14 bogus companies being floated and conflict of interest. Although deputy chairman P J Kurien did not allow him to complete his arguments saying he should have taken permission for his allegations, Jaitley said he was ready for a debate.
But Congress members trooped into the well shouting slogans such as, “First resign, then discussion” and “Caesar’s wife should be above suspicion.”