‘Kejriwal can’t drag me in’: Jaitley rejects allegations of DDCA graft
Finance minister Arun Jaitley on Thursday rejected the Delhi government’s demand for his resignation over the alleged corruption during his previous role as the president of the Delhi & District Cricket Association (DDCA).
Jaitley stated in a Facebook post that the AAP government was raising issues from the last two years, although he had relinquished the DDCA post in 2013.
The AAP had alleged at a press conference in the city that though only `24 crore had been approved for the renovation of the Ferozeshah Kotla stadium, as much as `114 crore was eventually spent on the project – raising a question mark over the remaining `90 crore.
Countering the allegation, Jaitley stated: “These are fake allegations… when work expands, cost escalations are integral. A brand new 42,000-capacity world-class stadium was constructed by the EPIL (Engineering Projects India Limited), a public sector body, at a total cost of around `114 crore. At the same time, the UPA government renovated two stadiums. The Jawahar Lal Nehru stadium was renovated at over `900 crore and the Dhyan Chand stadium was renovated at over `600 crore.”
The AAP leaders had quoted from reports of the Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO), the DDCA’s internal probe committee and a Delhi government-appointed inquiry panel to blame Jaitley for the allegedly dismal state of affairs in the association. However, Jaitley countered the allegations by stating that the SFIO, which was entrusted with the probe by the previous UPA government, had stated that “no fraud (was) noticed as alleged”.
“The SFIO… investigated and could not find a shred of evidence against me. No personal allegation was ever made against me, nor did I ever feel the need to contradict it,” he said.
The DDCA, for its part, rejected AAP spokesperson Raghav Chadha’s allegation that the EPIL was paid only `57 crore for the project. DDCA treasurer Ravinder Manchanda, said: “There are expenditures done under various heads when a stadium is constructed. The EPIL were paid `57 crore for the civic structure of the stadium, but we have balance sheets on the expenditure on generators, mask lights, air conditioning plant, tiles, chairs, renovation of dressing rooms and lift etc… So we term these allegations totally baseless.”
Jaitley was the DDCA president from 1999 to 2013.