As the battle over alleged financial irregularities in the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) between AAP and BJP is intensifying with every passing day, the issue has now reached the Parliament.
Both Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, entered into war of words making allegations and counter allegations over one another.
What is DDCA?
The Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) is a private organisation that takes care of promoting cricket in Delhi and surrounding districts. The 4,600 member body promotes cricket tournaments including T20 cricket.
DDCA mired in corruption:
Several top cricketers, including BJP MP Kirti Azad, Bishen Singh Bedi have alleged that the DDCA is mired into corruption and irregularities. Even Delhi's Ranji skipper Gautam Gambhir had in the recent past slammed DDCA for not doing anything for cricket and cricketers.
As per media reports, 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, on Sept 28, 2012.
According to an Outlook report, the SFIO found 23 instances of alleged huge financial bunglings 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.
Irregularities in construction of Ferozshah Kotla Stadium:
The Delhi Development Authority (DDA) owns the land on which Ferozshah Kotla stadium stands. The DDCA's lease expired in 2002, but the DDCA went ahead with the renovation work, said the SFIO report.
It is being alleged that the initial cost of construction and renovation work of the stadium was estimated to around Rs 27 crore but by the time the entire work was finished the DDCA had spent almost Rs 114 crore. The AAP is terming this escalated expenditure as corruption and embezzlement of fund.
Reports in the past have also claimed that the DDCA violated the age-related norms thereby helping elder players to play in younger age categories.
Quoting former Test cricketer Surinder Khanna, who runs a coaching academy in Delhi, the Outlook report said, "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."
Kejriwal Govt orders probe in Nov, 2015:
On November 12, the Delhi government constituted a three-member panel to probe the allegations.
Why AAP Govt dragged Arun Jaitley:
After CBI raided the office of Arvind Kejriwal's principal secretary in connection with corruption cases, ruling AAP in Delhi alleged huge financial bunglings in DDCA during Arun Jaitley's 13 year-old tenure as its chief, saying large amounts were siphoned off through fake companies besides other irregularities including in team selection.
Quoting from reports of SFIO, DDCA's internal probe committee and a Delhi Government-appointed inquiry panel, AAP accused Jaitley of giving "direct and indirect" consent to "massive corruption" in the cricket body.
What did Arun Jaitley say?
Reacting strongly to AAP's charge of corruption Arun Jaitley posted his blog titled 'Falsehood As Free Speech' on Facebook in which he wrote, "It is a part of propaganda technique to deflect attention when you yourselves are in the dock. 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.
What is DDCA saying:
DDCA's working president Chetan Chauhan said that Jaitley had in fact worked for the betterment of cricket in general and there were some procedural lapses.
"The cost of building stadium is Rs 114 crore. Initially, the contract given to EPIL was of 27 crore for one block in ground floor. But when we made three storeyed we realised capacity will increase to 45,000. Costs escalated to Rs 57.20 crore for initial construction. Then other additions made it Rs 114 crore," Chauhan said.
"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," added Chauhan.
Kirti Azad to hold press conference against 'corruption in DDCA'
BJP reached out to its MP Kirti Azad, a long critic of Jaitley's stewardship of DDCA. But an unfazed Azad said he will hold a press conference on Sunday against "corruption in DDCA".
"My fight is against corruption. I will continue with it," Azad said.
Rejecting suggestions that the party leadership has "gagged" him, the Darbhanga MP tweeted "don't go by rumours that I have been gagged. My fight is against corruption in sports and it shall continue."
Why BCCI stopped DDCA's annual grant, asks Bishen Singh Bedi
"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," former Indian captain Bishen Singh Bedi was quoted as saying.
Both the DDCA and BJP is claiming that in 2012, the government was different and enquiry completed during the tenure of the previous government and all the irregularities were taken care of and Jaitley was not in power at that time.