The AAP and BJP are locked in a bitter tussle, with Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal seeking finance minister Arun Jaitley’s resignation over alleged corruption in the Delhi cricket administration and the latter accusing the AAP leader of spreading “falsehood”.
The Bharatiya Janata Party and the central government have rejected the demand of Jaitley’s resignation and stood behind him.
The Aam Aadmi Party’s allegations came after the CBI raided the office of the principal secretary to Kejriwal on charges of corruption.
Here is what leaders across political parties and former cricketers had to say about the issue:
Aam Aadmi Party
Arvind Kejriwal, Delhi chief minister
“Can Jaitley’s denial be taken as gospel truth? Very serious allegations against him. Why is he running away from investigations? If Jaitley were (to be) let off without investigations on (the) basis of his press denial, then should all coal and 2G (scandal) accused also be similarly let off?”
Commenting on reports that the BJP had put a gag on its MP and former cricketer Kirti Azad, who has been campaigning against alleged corruption in the DDCA for years, the Delhi chief minister asked: “Is this true? Why is BJP trying to cover up Jaitley’s corruption?”
Manish Sisodia, Delhi deputy chief minister
“I want to categorically say that it was CM’s office where the raid was conducted, DDCA files were looked into.”
Sanjay Singh, AAP leader
“A free and fair probe cannot be done as long as Jaitley remains in the post (of a minister)… So he should be removed.”
“You are asking why Kejriwal kept a corrupt official like Rajendra Kumar. Kumar has served for 27 years. Has there ever been a probe over allegations of corruption against him?
“In the last 27 years, there has not been a single allegation of corruption against Rajendra Kumar. The media should not distort facts. It is also showing that Rs 28 lakh was recovered from his salary account. Does a salary account contain unaccounted money?”
Raghav Chadha, AAP spokesperson
“The bungling had happened under direct or indirect consent of Arun Jaitley during his tenure as DDCA chief. Prime Minister Narendra Modi must ask Jaitley to resign to ensure fair probe as some of the competent agencies to investigate are under the finance ministry.”
Bharatiya Janata Party
Arun Jaitley, finance minister and BJP leader
“Free speech is unquestionably a pre-eminent fundamental right, but does free speech include the right to speak only falsehood? Kejriwal seems to believe in untruth and defamation, delivered in a language that borders on hysteria… It (uproar over alleged DDCA irregularities) is a part of propaganda technique to deflect attention when you yourselves are in the dock. Finding himself acting as a shield to cover an officer under investigation, the Delhi chief minister has attempted to focus attention on me.”
“I left cricket administration in 2013. By referring to some facts of 2014 and 2015, he (Kejriwal) can’t drag me in.”
M Venkaiah Naidu, Union minister and BJP leader
“There is no question of the resignation of Jaitley. They (AAP) are playing their political cards. This is no issue.”
Smriti Irani, Union minister and BJP leader
“Political hysteria is being created to deflect attention from a corrupt officer… AAP has made false allegations… An investigation report on DDCA during the UPA government had proved there was no fraud in Jaitley’s regime.”
Kirti Azad, BJP MP
“I will keep on fighting corruption. I have done that. I am a sportsperson of this country,” said BJP MP Kirti Azad, adding he was not gagged by the party.
“We have to take up this issue. The honourable Supreme Court has taken cognisance of the fact and I have been fighting with many cricketers.”
“If you are fighting against corruption, nobody suppresses you. In fact they encourage you. I have not been gagged. Nobody has gagged me. I have been speaking for last nine years about the corruption,” he said.
Digvijaya Singh, Congress leader
“If you want to discuss the role of Arun Jaitley in DDCA then ask Kirti Azad as to how many scams there were in DDCA… “We are in favour of a complete probe into it. (Delhi Chief Minister) should set up an inquiry commission to probe it.”
Ajay Maken, Congress leader
“Congress demands that pending the completion of inquiry through a JPC, Arun Jaitley step down, failing which the Prime Minister should sack him.”
Chetan Chauhan, DDCA working president
“No embezzlement took place during Jaitley’s tenure. You can check SFIO report. There were only procedural lapses and we have compounded (paid fine) for those lapses. There are no criminal cases during his period as president. Had there been anything SFIO would have taken action
“Also in 2012, the government was different and enquiry completed during the tenure of the previous government and all the irregularities were taken care of. So Mr Jaitley was not in power at that time.”
Bishan Singh Bedi, former India cricketer
“Why do they have this idea that Delhi state government needs permission from DDCA to probe the irregularities? If they are so clean then why did the BCCI needed to stop their annual grant. If anyone kindly bothers to explain it to me.”
“Ok, they (people involved with the DDCA) all are clean and are not involved in financial irregularities. Then why did the Delhi high court need to appoint an independent observer in justice (Retd) Mukul Mudgal to conduct a Test match. They are painting a hunky dory picture and let them paint one! Who’s stopping them.”
“From the beginning Arvind has been fighting corruption. I have always told him that ‘you should have people with strong character around you’.”