Aam Aadmi Party (AAP)-led Delhi government on Monday rejected the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) claim that union finance minister Arun Jaitley was cleared by an inquiry panel it had appointed to investigate alleged irregularities into DDCA affairs during Jaitley’s tenure.
Chief minister Arvind Kejriwal said he would not apologise for targeting Jaitley as “no clean chit” was ever given while his deputy Manish Sisodia posed four questions to the finance minister and BJP over the alleged financial misappropriations in the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) when Jaitley headed the cricket body and wondered why they were “running away” from a probe.
“Does that mean that corruption happened during the period but ghosts did it? ... Why is there so much rush to absolve Jaitley? Probe by the Commission of Inquiry has begun yesterday only. Gopal Subramaniam whom we appointed as its chief had given the letter of acceptance yesterday,” Sisodia told reporters on Monday.
Earlier in the day, Kejriwal took to Twitter where he said he would not apologise to the BJP as the matter wasn’t resolved yet. “That report confirmed several instances of wrongdoings but did not fix responsibility,” he posted, adding, “It didn’t mention anyone’s name and recommended Enquiry Commission to fix responsibility, which we have done now.”
BJP almost begging me for an apology. Sorry. I won't oblige them. Let Jaitley ji be cross-examined in defamation cases. Let truth prevail— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) December 28, 2015
No clean chit ever given by any Del govt probe. That report confirmed several instances of wrongdoings but did not fix responsibility(1/2)— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) December 28, 2015
It didn't mention ANYONE's name n recommended Enquiry Commission to fix responsibility, which we have done now(2/2)— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) December 28, 2015
Jaitley headed the DDCA for about a decade, although he was not involved in its day-to-day activities, as noted by the Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) that gave him a clean chit during the UPA regime.
Referring to certain allegations, Sisodia said, “Wasn’t Jaitley the head of DDCA during 1999-2013 when these irregularities happened? When laptops were hired at Rs 16,000 per day when cost of renovation of the the Feroz Shah Kotla stadium escalated to Rs 144 crore from Rs 24 crore… The companies that were given contracts in that period had same directors and same addresses. Does not this indicate towards corruption? How did this happen then? Who did it?”
An angry BJP had come out all guns blazing on Sunday and demanded that Kejriwal apologise publicly for linking the finance minister to alleged irregularities in the city’s cricket body.
BJP spokesperson MJ Akbar said Kejriwal should also admit his fault in court -- where he faces civil and criminal defamation suits filed by Jaitley – and pointed out the report of a city government-appointed panel probing the allegations had no mention of the finance minister .
Minutes later, the AAP fired back in an apparent tit-for-tat response as Kejriwal questioned an apparent fear of facing a probe, insisting on Twitter that “AAP takes strong n swift action on credible evidence”.
HT reported on Friday that the report submitted by a three-member panel set up by the AAP government to investigate corruption claims in the DDCA had no mention of Jaitley, who headed the body for over a decade.
The 237-page report pointed out several alleged irregularities but the finance minister’s name didn’t figure anywhere, dampening the AAP’s sustained propaganda against the senior BJP leader.