Finance minister Arun Jaitley, a former Delhi and District Cricket Association president, tells The Indian Express why he feels the Aam Aadmi Party is playing the victim card and while allegations of corruption in the DDCA during his tenure as president is not true. Excerpts.
Why is there an attack on you personally?
Look back on their tenure (Aam Aadmi Party). This one and the last one and you will see that there is nothing they have done to improve the quality of life in Delhi. In fact people are beginning to see them as a bunch of mavericks. So their agenda is to rake up a controversy and just be in the limelight on the strength of the attack. In order to do that they first commit a malpractice and then play the victim card.
So when a leader was held up for thrashing his wife or torturing his wife they first played the victim card. When their members were arrested for faking qualifications they started playing the victim card, when their leaders were held up for beating up public servants they played the victim card, so that is their normal strategy.
Now the CBI raided and arrested one secretary of the Delhi government who is still under arrest. So they welcomed it. Now in a case that is nothing to do with Kejriwal’s regime what they do is..that officer is searched for some old case so Kejriwal playing the victim card, says my office has been raided and misleads the country. Now if somebody is raided in North Block…
It doesn’t mean you are raided.
In fact CBI has raided (North Block) when those leaks of documents took place, so I can’t say my office has been raided. Then he misleads people like Nitish Kumar and Mamata Banerjee to make statements. He uses the most objectionable language against the Prime Minister and then in the next two or three days it becomes clear that the raid has nothing to do with Kejriwal, it has something to do with some old charges against that officer.
So now he must deflect attention. In order to deflect attention he picks up cricket. What does he do? First the facts. I was the President of Delhi’s cricket body but I left it in 2013 and since then I am not concerned. Now point one: when I took over Delhi didn’t have a cricket stadium, it had a maidan. So my principle object was use my position and build a stadium.
I will give you specifically what they say and how silly it is. At that time even BCCI didn’t have much money so how do you build a stadium? So I started an ingenious method. For the first time in India I created 43 corporate boxes and each box had 30 seats and you advance sell the boxes to a corporate for 10 years. Each seat valued at Rs 1 lakh so the box would go for Rs 30 lakhs.
The plans were sanctioned, the monies came into the association by cheque then the signage — a Tata end and an ITC end, ONGC, JP industries — so we got the signage so we managed to collect about Rs 35 crores… big money then.
This was 10 years ago?
This was 2003-4 and then we wanted to build two small blocks. At that time even BCCI did not have much money so they used to give us Rs 4 crore and ask us to raise the rest… this was one of the earlier stadiums built. Then BCCI suddenly became rich and they said we will give you Rs 50 crores instead of Rs 4 crores. Then each year we started getting higher amounts for advertising so those two chhota blocks, which we were building for Rs 27 crores — the figure you mentioned — we gave the contract for a PSU Engineers Projects India — then as we kept earning, we kept investing and the stadium cost Rs 58 crores. Then there is the second lie, which is why did you take Rs 114 crores? The first is why did you sell the boxes? Of course we sold them to fund the stadium.
The second charge is how did it go to Rs 114 crores. arre tum ghar banaate ho bricks aur cement ke baad furnishing hota hai. Now I will tell you what the furnishing is. You needed furniture for 45000 people, electrification of 17 gates, electronic turnstyles, The total electrification of the stadium, toilets and sanitation for 50,000 people, mass lights, floodlights, big gensets to operate them. Then all covered areas have to be air-conditioned. This is the only privately built stadium in Delhi.
So this is all private money?
Not a single rupee is from the government. Now just see during the same period they renovated Dhyanchand Stadium — capacity 14,000 — for Rs 600 crores. They renovated Nehru stadium for Rs 900 crores. We built a brand new stadium for Rs 114 crores and the charge is Rs 58 crores PSU ko diya, baqi ka kharcha kahaan gaya. Baqi kharcha. seats, turnstyles, lights. I am proud of the fact I created a permanent asset for Delhi otherwise where would international matches and IPL be held.
So you think these charges were just to deflect the issue.
Yes. Then the third. Sheila Dikshit had a very dignified relationship with us in the earlier years. When we had no money she gave us tax exemption. After 2008 she said you must pay full tax so we paid full tax. Now what he has done in order to stop cricket because of his destructive attitude…
entertainment tax is on seats… he is saying there is entertainment tax fraud because jo signage tha us pe entertainment tax nahin diya. The High Court laughed (when they took it to court) and said this is not payable. Now after I have left its been two or three years there is some factional fight and irregularities.
Like Kirti Azad saying…
Some people… so they bring those irregularities and say what does he have to answer. What is it to with me? I have not gone back even to see a match since 2013. All the financial issues they are raising relate to the period after I left. This is the whole issue.
What about Kirti Azad’s charges.
He went to meet Sonia Gandhi and this was reported in the media. So they reported this complaints to the Serious Fraud Organization (SFIO). They went into it and came out with a 200 page report, covers my entire tenure, and it says there is no evidence of any fraud.