Finance minister Arun Jaitley on Wednesday found himself at the centre of a raging controversy with the Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party targeting him and demanding his resignation over alleged ‘gross financial irregularities’ in Delhi District Cricket Association that he headed it from 1999 to 2013.
In a further escalation of the confrontation between the Congress and the government, the opposition party claimed that a committee constituted by the Delhi government has found ‘gross financial irregularities’ in the DDCA during that period.
On his part, Jaitley dismissed the allegations as ‘vague’ and said he cannot answer them unless they are specific. He also attacked the AAP and its government of trying to ‘deflect’ attention from the issue of corruption and ‘interference’ in the probe.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had on Tuesday indicated that he proposed to order a Commission of Inquiry into the report of the committee set up by his government to go into the DDCA affairs, which implicated Jaitley.
His party AAP, which is at loggerheads with the Centre over Tuesday’s raid on the chief minister’s secretariat, stepped up the attack on Jaitley.
‘A fair investigation is not possible into DDCA’s irregularities until Jaitley remains finance minister. So he should immediately tender resignation,’ AAP leader Sanjay Singh tweeted.
Kejriwal has alleged that there has been corruption in the DDCA under Jaitley’s 13-year-long tenure as its president.
Congress fielded its top parliamentary leaders to launch the attack on Jaitley and the affairs of the DDCA, a Section 25 non-profit company, and demand that he should step down because a fair probe was not possible as long as he was in office.
Flanked by Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad, party leader in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge senior spokesman Ajay Maken also sought setting up of a Joint Parliamentary Committee to go into the issue.
"Congress demands that pending the completion of inquiry through a JPC, Arun Jaitley step down, failing which the prime minister should sack him," Maken said at a press conference.
Maken made his claims on the basis of reports of a three-member committee set up by Kejriwal, a Registrar of Companies report of last year, findings of a two-member commission constituted by a Delhi court and an internal fact-finding committee of the DDCA.
He said four persons in the DDCA, who have been 'known for their proximity' to Jaitley have been named as 'officers in default' by the RoC in his order of August last year.
"How can a fair probe into the issue is possible as long as Jaitley is the finance minister, who is also the corporate affairs minister," Maken said.
He noted that virtually all enforcement authorities – the Enforcement Directorate, income tax, revenue intelligence, Serious Fraud Investigation Office -- directly report to him.
"The same agencies are supposed to take action against the DDCA for infraction of various rules and norms of the Companies Act and under criminal law," he said.
Maken, who has earlier been sports minister at the Centre, said the RoC have ‘proved’ the charges of irregularities after he had complained to the then corporate affairs minister M Veerappa Moily, who had ordered the RoC inquiry.
He said the investigation by the SFIO had found that the Reconstruction of the Ferozshah Kotla stadium was carried out between 2002 and 2007 which saw an escalation of costs by Rs 90 crore. He said the initial budget was 24 crore but it eventually went up to Rs 114 crore.
AAP leader Ashutosh claimed that BJP MP Kirti Azad had levelled charges of corruption against Jaitley as the DDCA chief.
AAP spokesperson Deepak Bajpai said that the party will hold a press conference onb Thursday where it will expose 'massive corruption' in the DDCA.
Singh said 'the CBI raid on Arvind Kejriwal’s office' was undertaken as the Delhi government was planning to set up a probe committee to look into this matter.
"The CBI raided (Delhi Secretariat) to hide the corruption of Arun Jaitley. What was the CBI doing when Bharatiya Janata Party member of Parliament Kirit Azad demanded a probe into the matter? The Delhi government is initiating a probe into this matter," he said.