Parliament is discussing union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s alleged involvement in financial irregularities in the Delhi and Districts Cricket Association (DDCA) after AAP leader and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal built up a steady series of comments in the last few days.
On Wednesday, Kejrwal had said that the CBI which raided the offices of the Principal Secretary had read files on the Delhi government’s investigation into alleged financial and other irregularities in the DDCA, committed during Jaitley’s tenure as president between 1999-2013.
On Thursday, Jaitley put up a post on his Facebook page, calling Kejriwal’s comments tactics of deflection used because his own party was in the dock.
Here’s a lowdown on what the allegations are, Arun Jaitley’s response, investigations into alleged irregularities and mismanagement:
What is the DDCA?
The DDCA is a body that promotes cricket in Delhi and surrounding districts, and organizes cricket tournaments including T20 tournaments. However, it is not a society unlike other cricket bodies, but a private limited company. Around 300 of its 4,600 members are corporates.
Several DDCA members including former cricketers such as Bishen Singh Bedi, and Kirti Azad, who is also a BJP MP from Darbhanga, Bihar, have alleged numerous irregularities and mismanagement in the running of the association’s affairs.
On September 28, 2012, the Serious Fraud Investigation Office which functions under the Ministry of Corporate Affairs, launched an investigation into the allegations based on a complaint by NC Bakshi.
According to the Outlook report, the SFIO found 23 instances of alleged financial irregularities in the transactions of the DDCA between 2006 and 2012. These include misappropriation of funds, non-payment of taxes, not following the tendering route, hiring of tainted auditors and irregularities concerning management of membership, ticketing and others.
The more prominent ones are listed below, and most of them came to light after the SFIO investigation:
Ferozshah Kotla stadium:
Construction and renovation in the Ferozshah Kotla Stadium in Delhi, the SFIO found, was carried out with disregard for the law.
According to the Outlook report, the Delhi Development Authority owns the land on which the stadium stands. The DDCA’s lease expired in 2002, and despite being aware of this, the DDCA went ahead with the renovation, the SFIO report says.
According to an inspection of the stadium by the ministry of the union urban development ministry, unauthorised construction had been carried out in 13 places on the stadium’s premises.
As on May 2015, the Stadium did not have the completion and safety certificates. The safety certificate is a legal requirement with far reaching consequences. The stadium has a seating capacity of over 40,000.
According to the Outlook report, age-related rules were not followed by the DDCA. The report quotes former Test cricketer Surinder Khanna, who runs a coaching academy in Delhi. “Here, 16-year-olds play in the under-14 category, 19-year-olds play under 16, and 23-year-olds play under 19. You can bend rules, everything can be bought if you have the money,” Khanna told Outlook.
According to a DNA report, the SFIO found that all of the body’s 4,294 votes were controlled by five people, and said that it was in violation of Section 150 of the Companies Act.
“The DDCA elections are nothing but a farce. All the 4,294 proxies are controlled by DDCA office-bearers and their cohorts. Twenty-four DDCA members are residing at the residence of its vice-president CK Khanna. If you look at the electoral roll, you will find practically all office-bearers having multiple members staying with them. This is the reason why these corrupt officials keep cricketers at a distance,” former India player and Delhi skipper Surinder Khanna told dna in November 2013.
Delhi government investigation:
On November 12, the Delhi government constituted a three-member panel to probe the allegations.
What has Arun Jaitley got to do with this?
Arun Jaitley was the president of the DDCA between December 1999 and 2012. He has denied any wrongdoing.
According to Chetan Chauhan, the current president of the DDCA, Jaitley did not interfere in the day to day affairs of the association.
Calling the allegations against Jaitley “baseless” in a media conference on Thursday, Chauhan also said that Jaitely had made the Ferozshah Kotla Stadium a world-class facility and that there was no siphoning off of funds during his tenure.
Both Jaitley and the current leadership of the DDCA have maintained that the SFIO investigation was ordered by the UPA government and that Jaitley had not been in power. Similarly, both have insisted that there was no financial irregularity during Jaitley’s tenure.
Chauhan told the media on Thursday, “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."