New Delhi: Reacting to Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s denial of allegations of irregularities in the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA), Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Thursday said the former’s denial in the press cannot be taken as ‘gospel truth’.
In a series of tweets, Kejriwal said that allegations against Jaitley were very serious, and therefore, he should either resign or be removed from his post to facilitate an independent probe.
“Can Jaitley ji’s denial in press be taken as gospel truth? Very serious allegations against him. Why is he running away from investigations? If Jaitley ji were let off without investigations on basis of his press denial, then should all coal n 2G accused also be similarly let off?” Kejriwal tweeted.
Earlier, Jaitley hit out at the Delhi Chief Minister accusing him of spreading ‘untruth’ against him, two days after the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) alleged that Jaitley was involved in a scandal linked to DDCA of which he was earlier a president.
“Free speech is unquestionably a pre-eminent fundamental right, but does free speech include the right to speak only falsehood? The Delhi Chief Minister, Mr Arvind Kejriwal, seems to believe in untruth and defamation, delivered in a language that borders on hysteria,” said Jaitley in a Facebook post.
Jaitley also said the AAP convener is trying to divert attention and protecting his corrupt Principal Secretary by linking it to the Delhi Cricket body.
“A few days ago, a Secretary of the Delhi Government was searched and arrested after being caught red handed for allegedly accepting a bribe. The CBI had conducted the operation. The Delhi Government welcomed the move. Four days later, another official close to the Chief Minister was searched for an alleged offence which related to the pre-Kejriwal period. The chief minister raised two pleas. First, that it violates the federal structure of the Constitution. In addition, the Chief Minister used unacceptable adjectives against the Prime Minister and, second, he questioned the purpose of the search and tried to divert attention by linking it to the Delhi Cricket body rather than alleged corruption of this official,” Jaitley wrote.
“It 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. He repeats endlessly that I misled the Parliament on the Delhi raid and that he has a series of allegations to make against me in relation to my tenure as President of the DDCA – Delhi’s cricket body. The Congress transiently joined Mr. Kejriwal’s company for the reason that its own leaders are in the dock for more than one reason,” he wrote.
The Finance Minister also said that no personal allegations were ever made against him with regard to cricket administration, but admitted that there were certain irregularities.
“Even though I am not concerned with cricket administration since 2013, a Member of Parliament has been writing to various governmental bodies with regard to Delhi’s cricket affairs. The UPA Government seized upon the opportunity and referred the complaints to the SFIO which investigated all his complaints over a period of time and submitted a detailed Report on 21st March 2013. The Report concluded in relation to the DDCA being registered under the Companies Act, that:-
“thus, in a nutshell, there are certain irregularities / non-compliance or technical violations, but no fraud (was) noticed as alleged,” he wrote.
“These technical and procedural violations were all compoundable and were compounded by Members against whom they were alleged. The SFIO, under the UPA regime, 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 of contradicting it.
There are fake allegations such as escalation of cost of construction of a stadium. When work expands, cost escalations are integral. A brand new 42,000 capacity world class stadium was constructed by the EPIL, a public sector body at a total cost of around Rs.114 crores. At the same time, the UPA Government renovated two stadiums. The Jawaharlal Nehru stadium was renovated at a cost of over Rs.900 crores and Dhyan Chand stadium was renovated at a cost of over Rs. 600 crores,” he added.
“I have felt the need for stating the above in order to counter any unsubstantiated, non-specific allegations. I have left cricket administration in 2013. By referring to some facts of 2014 and 2015, he (Kejriwal) can’t drag me in,” Jaitley said.