Keeping up the attack on Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, the Aam Aadmi Party on Thursday alleged huge financial bungling in the Delhi District Cricket Association during his 13-year tenure as its chief, saying large amounts were siphoned off through fake companies besides other irregularities, including that in team selection.
At a press conference in New Delhi, the AAP leaders, quoting from reports of Serious Fraud Investigation Office, the DDCA’s internal probe committee and a Delhi government-appointed inquiry panel, accused Jaitley of giving 'direct and indirect' consent to 'massive corruption' in the cricket body.
Jaitley had on Wednesday rubbished the allegations and said he will not respond to vague charges.
"The bungling had happened under direct or indirect consent of Arun Jaitley during his tenure as the DDCA chief. Prime Minister Narendra Modi must ask Jaitley to resign to ensure a fair probe as some of the competent agencies to investigate the ‘scam’ are under the finance ministry," said AAP spokesperson Raghav Chadha, flanked by a number of other leaders.
Citing instances of such 'frauds', he alleged an additional expenditure of Rs 90 crore was incurred on renovating the Feroz Shah Kotla stadium against the sanctioned budget of Rs 24 crore and that fake companies were set up by the DDCA office bearers to siphon off money through round-tripping.
"Payments were made to five companies whose registered addresses were same and were headed by the same director. There was duplication of funds and fictitious companies were paid for work they never did," alleged Chadha.
Calling the irregularities a 'commonwealth scam of cricket', they said Bharatiya Janata Party member of Parliament and former cricketer Kirti Azad had been seeking investigation into the serious allegations and a number of inquiry committees have found gross misappropriation of funds in the DDCA.
The AAP leaders repeated their allegations that Jaitley was behind the Central Bureau of Investigation raid at the Delhi Secretariat on Monday as well as the 'take over' of Delhi Anti-Corruption Bureau from the Delhi government by the Centre to scuttle probe into the DDCA affairs.
"The DDCA was a den of corruption under Jaitley," said Chadha.
Asked why they have come out with the reports of the SFIO and the DDCA's internal committee which were already in public domain, AAP leader Sanjay Singh said the Delhi government was committed to investigate the irregularities unlike past dispensations which 'sat over them'.
"The CBI had come looking for a few incriminating documents that are not yet in public domain. The raids were carried out in an attempt to intimidate the Delhi government," he alleged.
The AAP said the statutory auditor of the DDCA has been facing prosecution for fudging accounts and that a statement to this effect was made by minister of state for finance Jayant Sinha in Parliament.
To Jaitley's comment that he would only respond to specific charges, Singh said now the finance minister should not only answer to the allegations but also should resign from the post.
"Jaitley is not only answerable to us. But he is answerable to his own party members," he said.
The AAP leaders said that acting on a communication dated July 27 from Union sports ministry, the Delhi government initiated a probe into irregularities in the DDCA.
"A three-member committee was formed for the purpose, headed by senior Indian Administrative Services officer Chetan Sanghi. The committee, on November 17, gave a report to the chief minister highlighting glaring irregularities in the DDCA and recommended setting up of a Commission of Enquiry to thoroughly probe the matter," said Chadha.
AAP leader Ashutosh claimed that Sanghi was threatened of dire consequences by a joint secretary in the ministry of home affairs. The party said 22 days after Sanghi filed the report, on December 9, the ACB registered a case of corruption against him in connection with some of his decisions during the Sheila Dikshit government.
The AAP leaders quoted a DDCA internal fact-finding committee report which, they said, tells that ‘the magnitude and extent of improprieties, irregularities and misconduct committed by various officials were of gigantic proportions’.
They alleged that 10 newly constructed corporate boxes at Feroz Shah Kotla were given out on lease to companies without following stipulated rules during Jaitley's tenure.
"There were instances of proxy litigations to mint money. Lawyers who used to appear against the DDCA were paid by the cricket body itself," said Chadha.
They alleged that Jaitley had turned the DDCA into 'an exclusive club of elites and had institutionalised corruption. Only wards of political leaders and the rich can hope to play for Delhi due to nepotism'.
The AAP said forged age certificates were used to let certain players get selected despite exceeding the age limit and quoted First Information Reports into large number of such cases which the Delhi police did not pursue.
"Selection of players was as per Jaitley's choice," said AAP leader Sanjay Singh, adding that the party will come out with 'part two of the revelation soon'.
Party leader Kumar Vishwas said the party had 'overheard' that there was a big agenda against it lined up for Friday.