New Delhi: Bitter war over CBI raid and the DDCA row continued between the Aam Aadmi Party and the BJP on Thursday, with Arvind Kejriwal seeking Arun Jaitley's resignation for corruption and the Union Finance Minister accusing Delhi Chief Minister of spreading 'falsehood'.
Addressing the press, AAP leaders, quoting from reports of Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO), DDCA's internal probe committee and a Delhi Government-appointed inquiry panel, accused Jaitley of giving "direct and indirect" consent to "massive corruption" in the cricket body.
Jaitley had yesterday rubbished the allegations and said he will not respond to vague charges.
"The bunglings 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 the are under Finance Ministry," said AAP Spokesperson Raghav Chadha, flanked by a number of other leaders.
Citing instances of such "frauds", he alleged an additional expenditure of Rs 90 crore was incurred in renovation of the Feroz Shah Kotla stadium against sanctioned budget of Rs 24 crore and that fake companies were set up by DDCA office bearers to siphon off money through round-tripping, as per PTI.
"Payments were made to five companies whose registered addresses were same and were headed by same director. There was duplication of funds and fictitious companies were paid for work they never did," alleged Chadha.
Calling the irregularities a "Commonwealth Scam of Cricket", they said BJP MP and former cricketer Kirti Azad had been seeking investigation into the serious allegations and a number of inquiry commitees have found gross misappropriation of funds in DDCA.
The AAP leaders repeated their allegations that Jaitley was behind the CBI raid at Delhi Secretariat on Monday as well as "take over" of Delhi ACB from Delhi Government by the Centre to scuttle probe into DDCA affairs.
Asked why they have come out with the reports of SFIO and DDCA's internal committee which were already in public domain, AAP leader Sanjay Singh said the Delhi government was committed to investigate the irregularities unlike past dispensations which "sat over them".
"The CBI had come looking for few incriminating documents that are not yet in public domain. The raids were carried out in an attempt to intimidate the Delhi Government," he alleged.
Meanwhile, Jaitley denied all allegations leveled at him by AAP saying that there was "not a grain of truth" in them.
Addressing the press he said, "Not even a finger has ever been raised at me in public life."
On allegations by AAP that huge financial bunglings in DDCA during his 13 year-old tenure as its chief large amounts were siphoned off through fake companies besides other irregularities including in team selection, Jaitley said, "The stadium had to be constructed small, but then we expanded the project as Delhi needed a bigger stadium."
Hitting back at AAP, Jaitley said, "People of Delhi must be regretting electing a government which thrives on controversies and does nothing on ground."
On Kejriwal calling Prime Minister Narendra Modi a 'coward' and a 'psychopath' Jaitley posed the question, "If a CM uses such language against PM, is it in the spirit of federal structure?"
Meanwhile, later, Delhi CM asked whether the Union Finance Minister's press conference could be taken as the gospel truth.
Kejriwal tweeted the following:
"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 and 2G accused also be similarly let off?"
"Allegations against Jaitley ji are very very serious. Amounts involved are huge. He should either resign or be removed to enable independent probe."
Can Jaitley ji's denial in press be taken as gospel truth? V serious allegations against him. Why is he running away from investigations?
— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) December 17, 2015
Also, Union Finance Minister wrote in a blog titled 'Falsehood as Free Speech' today: "If the Union Government were to consider using the adjectives that Mr Kejriwal used against the Prime Minister, it would be legitimate to contend that this is not in consonance with the federal spirit. When two chief ministers, Mamata Banerjee ji and Nitish Kumar Babu, supported Mr Kejriwal, notwithstanding the use of highly objectionable words against the Prime Minister, can it be in consonance with the federal spirit? The two chief ministers need to redeem themselves by publicly distancing themselves from Mr. Kejriwal's vocabulary."
"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.
FALSEHOOD AS FREE SPEECH https://t.co/DAER1hoRhj
— Arun Jaitley (@arunjaitley) December 17, 2015
(With Agency inputs)