BJP suspends ‘whistleblower’ Azad

BJP suspends ‘whistleblower’ Azad
BJP suspends ‘whistleblower’ Azad

New Delhi

[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]I[/dropcap]t’s a classic case where a whistleblower is penalized for exposing corruption. Former Indian cricketer and three-term BJP MP, Kirti Azad paid the price for speaking out against massive corruption in the Delhi District Cricket Association (DDCA) under the tenure of Finance Minister Arun Jaitley for around 14 years till 2013. The BJP on Wednesday placed the MP, who represents Darbhanga in north Bihar, under suspension for defying the parity’s order not to hold a press conference to expose the DDCA scandal.

“Kirti Azad, Darbhanga MP, is suspended from party with immediate effect for his anti-party activities,” a BJP statement said. The party has issued a show cause notice to him asking him to explain his “anti-party conduct”, the statement said, adding that further action will depend on his reply.

Reacting to his suspension, Azad said in Ahmadabad: “The issue I raised is old, haven’t teamed up with Congress or AAP. I worked honestly for the BJP but have been branded anti-party.”

[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]T[/dropcap]he Aam Admi Party and the Congress have come in support of Kirti Azad. “There is no democracy in BJP. Honest voices are muzzled to protect corruption, Tweeted Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, who has set up an inquiry commission to probe the DDCA scandal.

On Wednesday, the Kejriwal government issued the notification for setting up of the Commission, headed by former Solicitor General Gopal Subramanium, to probe alleged DDCA scandal between 1992 and 2015, and asked it to submit its report within three months.

It will be interesting to see if Delhi’s Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung, who reports to the Centre, gives his consent for forming such a Commission. If Jung denies the permission, Kejriwal will have the option to move the court. It will also give him an opportunity to claim that the Centre was trying to protect Jaitley by not allowing an independent probe in the DDCA scandal.

“The terms of reference of the Commission shall be to conduct inquiry into working, management and administration (including alleged financial irregularities) of the DDCA and whether such practices have been conducive to the game of cricket,” the notification said.

[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]S[/dropcap]enior Congress leader Diugvijay Singh also slammed the BJP for acting against Azad. “Kirti Azad suspended by BJP. His crime? Raised issue of corruption in DDCA with facts”.

“Is this going to be the fate of all those in the BJP who raise issue of corruption? First Ram Jethmalani and now Kirti. Next Shatrughan Sinha?” Singh said on Twitter.

Kirti had held a press conference on Sunday and released video tapes and documents to claim that the cricket body was mired in corruption. The BJP MP was careful not to name Jaitley, but a party that talked transparency all these years, has deemed it fit to penalize him for exposing the rot in the cricket body.

[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]K[/dropcap]irti was under pressure from the BJP not to expose the DDCA scandal. First, Party general secretary Ram Lal held talks with him and advised him not to go ahead with his Press conference. When Kirti refused to fall in line, Amit Shah stepped in. But the former cricket remained defiant and invoked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to justify his crusade against corruption.

Azad had dared Jaitely to file defamation suit against him instead of targeting AAP leaders and also demanded that Special investigation team should be set up to probe the DDCA scandal.

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