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Kejriwal cannot drag me into DDCA row; left it 2013: Jaitley

December 17, 2015 18:39 IST

Hitting back at Arvind Kejriwal over the DDCA row, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Thursday accused him of spreading "false propaganda", saying he seems to believe in untruth and defamation and delivers a language that borders on hysteria.

Jaitley also attacked West Bengal and Bihar chief ministers Mamata Banerjee and Nitish Kumar for supporting Kejriwal, saying "they need to redeem themselves" by publicly distancing from the Delhi chief minister's vocabulary.

The finance minister said by referring to some facts of 2014 and 2015, Kejriwal cannot drag him in the Delhi cricket body case as he left cricket administration in 2013.

Attacking Kejriwal for the language used by him against Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the wake of CBI searches on an officer in his secretariat, he said a state or UT by its "unacceptable conduct" can also be a threat to federalism.

"Free speech is unquestionably a pre-eminent fundamental right, but does free speech include the right to speak only falsehood? The Delhi Chief Minister, Mr Arvind Kejriwal, seems to believe in untruth and defamation, delivered in a language
that borders on hysteria," he said on his facebook blog entitled "Falsehood as free speech".

He said Kejriwal alleged that the search on an officer close to him is a violation to the federal structure of Constitution and has used some "unacceptable adjectives" against the Prime Minister.

Jaitley said Kejriwal has questioned the purpose of the search and tried to divert attention by linking it to the Delhi cricket body rather than alleged corruption.

"Federalism is not a one way stream. It is not always that the Union government challenges the spirit of federalism. A State or a Union Territory, by its unacceptable conduct, can also be a threat to federalism," he said on his blog.

Jaitley added that the DDCA case "is a part of propaganda technique to deflect attention when you yourself are in the dock" and accused Kejriwal of focussing attention on him after he acted as a shield to cover an officer under investigation.

"I have left cricket administration in 2013. By referring to some facts of 2014 and 2015, he can’t drag me in," he said, terming allegations against him as unsubstantiated and non-specific.

The finance minister said the Serious Fraud Investigation Office, which was entrusted with the investigations in the case by the previous UPA government, has clearly stated that "no fraud (was) noticed as alleged" and his role as DDCA president was "like a non-executive chairman without involvement in day-to-day affairs of the company".

Jaitley said there can be no greater threat to federalism if state governments start investigating decisions of Union Cabinet and cited Delhi government's act of registering an FIR against two Union cabinet Ministers of the UPA government for voluntarily implementing a decision of the Cabinet, even without any police or investigative powers.

"Delhi is a Union Territory with no police powers," he said, adding that the Delhi government's act was condemned by him in February 2013 as Leader of Opposition.

Objecting to the use of language by Kejriwal, the finance minister said, the adjectives used by him against the prime minister are "not in consonance with the deferal spirit".

"When two chief ministers, Mamata Banerjee ji and Nitish Kumar babu supported Kejriwal, notwithstanding the use of highly objectionable words against the Prime Minister, can it be in consonance with the federal spirit? The two chief ministers need to redeem themselves by publicly distancing themselves from Mr Kejriwal’s vocabulary," he asked.

With the heat and dust of the CBI search on an IAS officer's room having settled now, Jaitley questioned why two chief ministers are lending their support to Kejriwal's "blatant falsehood".

"Notwithstanding that, an actually false propaganda is being repeated continuously. Why should the chief minister place himself as a shield in front of an official who is facing investigation? Why should two eminent Chief Ministers lend themselves to support the blatant falsehood of Delhi’s chief minister?," he asked.

The finance minister also attacked the Congress for supporting Kejriwal, saying its own leaders are in the dock for corruption.

"The Congress transiently joined Mr Kejriwal's company for the reason that its own leaders are in the dock for more than one reason," he said.

About the allegations against him, Jaitley said they are "fake" and asserted that "no personal allegation was ever made against me nor did I ever feel the need of contradicting it".

"There are fake allegations such as escalation of cost of construction of a stadium. When work expands, cost escalations are integral," he said.

Jaitley said a brand new 42,000 capacity world class stadium was constructed by the Engineering Projects India Limited (EPIL), a public sector body at a total cost of around Rs 114 crore.

He also cited the renovation of two other stadiums in Delhi during the UPA Government. While Jawahar Lal Nehru stadium renovated at a cost of over Rs 900 crore and Dhyan Chand stadium renovated at a cost of over Rs 600 crore.

Jaitley said even though he is not concerned with cricket administration since 2013, a Member of Parliament has been writing to various governmental bodies with regard to Delhi's cricket affairs and previous UPA government seized upon the opportunity and referred complaints to SFIO which investigated them and submitted a detailed report on March 21, 2013.

"The Report concluded in relation to the DDCA being registered under the Companies Act, that 'thus, in a nutshell, there are certain irregularities / non-compliance or technical violations, but no fraud (was) noticed as alleged'."

He said these technical and procedural violations were all compoundable and were compounded by members against whom they were alleged.

"The SFIO, under the UPA regime, investigated and could not find a shred of evidence against me," he claimed.

On Jaitley's role, the SFIO report said, he is President of DDCA and is "presiding over the meetings of Executive Committee (Board of Directors) like a non-executive chairman without involvement in day to day affairs of the company".

Detailing the generation of funds for Delhi stadium's renovation, Jaitley said he had mopped up Rs 35 crore by selling various spaces in the stadium including boxes to corporate houses. He said while 43 corporate boxes, with 30 seats each, were sold at Rs one lakh per seat, generating Rs 12 to 13 crore and various other advertisement spaces around the stadium.

Of the total expenditure on the stadium, he said, the initial structure contract was given on bidding to EPIL, a PSU unit, which further hired other contractors.

Jaitley said Kejriwal has no jurisdiction to investigate the DDCA, a company registered under Government of India and had even no jurisdiction in ordering a Commission of Inquiry against the previous Sheila Dikshit government as the power vests with the central government.

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