The massive irregularities in the Delhi District Cricket association under the 13-year tenure of Finance minister Arun Jaitley between 1999 and 2013 continued to generate political heat both inside and outside parliament. While the Opposition stalled the proceedings in the Rajya Sabha seeking Jaitley’s resignation, the Delhi court on Tuesday sought response of Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and five other AAP leaders on a civil defamation suit filed against them by Jaitley.
Jaitley is engaged in a three-front war in the DDCA scandal. Against him are lined up Delhi Government, the Congress and his own party MP and former cricketer Kirti Azad. It is Azad who is causing much discomfiture to Jaitley because of his tall standing in the cricketing world as man who was a member of the 1983 India’s World Cup winning squad. The support he enjoys from former Indian captain Bishen Singh Bedi and several top notch cricketers like Madan Lal and others has also created a major perception crisis for Jaitley.
Jaitley has so far maintained that the there were no major irregularities in the DDCA and the minor offences were “compoundable” in nature. On the other hand, Azad has released a damning video to claim that the DDCA officials were engaged in massive loot of the cricket body through payments made to fictitious companies and round tripping of several crores of rupees. Newspaper reports have also shown that some of the companies which were reportedly engaged by the DDCA were located at the premises of ghee shops and garment sellers.
The huge rental payment made for hiring of laptops and printers is reminiscent of the Commonwealth Games scandal where similar loot took place under the regime of former Congress MP Suresh Kalmadi.
As Jaitley battles one of the biggest crises of his political life, the Congress-led Opposition is not ready to make things any easy for him. In Lok Sabha, Congress MPs staged a walkout demanding Jaitley’s resignation while in Rajya Sabha slogan-shouting Congress members moved into the well of the House and disrupted proceedings.
“Jaitley istifa do (Jaitley should resign),” Congress MPs shouted after Deputy Chairman P J Kurien disallowed discussion on the DDCA scandal and briefly adjourned the House. After the House reassembled, the same chaos persisted and the Congress MPs raised slogans against Jaitley, forcing Kurien to adjourn the House till noon. Two more adjournment followed after which the House took up discussion on the Juvenile Justice amendment bill.
Meanwhile, the High Court issued notice to Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and AAP leaders – Kumar Vishwas, Ashutosh, Sanjay Singh, Raghav Chadha and Deepak Bajpai – on the Rs 10 crores ($1.5 million) civil defamation suit filed by Jaitley for allegedly making false and defamatory statements against him and his family members. The Court fixed the matter for February 5, 2016 for admission/denial of documents.
Kejriwal and Vishwas were not present in the court, but Ashutosh, Sanjay, Raghav and Deepak, attended the proceedings.
Jaitley has also filed a criminal defamation case before a trial court against Kejriwal and the five other AAP leaders.
1. The conversion rate used in this article is 1 USD = 66.31 Rupees.
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