DDCA row: Congress seeks parliamentary panel, Kirti Azad for SIT

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New Delhi, Dec 21: The Congress on Monday demanded a parliamentary probe into alleged DDCA irregularities and sought the resignation of Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who had been long at its helm, rejected the charges against him as "baseless".

Bharatiya Janata Party MP and former cricketer Kirti Azad meanwhile called for a time-bound Special Investigation probe into the Delhi and Districts Cricket Association (DDCA) affairs and claimed that Aam Aadmi Party and the Congress were only using papers/documents compiled by him on the issue.

Kirti Azad

Congress members walked out of the Lok Sabha after expressing dissatisfaction over Jaitley's reply to the charges which he dubbed as "wrong and baseless".

Raising the issue in the house after Question Hour, Congress leader K.C. Venugopal alleged that Jaitley was aware of the "irregularities" in the DDCA, and said Kirti Azad, in his press conference on Sunday, had given "solid evidence."

"We demand a Joint Parliamentary Committee (to probe the issue) and his resignation," he said.

Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Rajiv Pratap Rudy said the Congress member had made an uncalled for statement and personally targeted the finance minister.

In his response, Jaitley said "we (the DDCA) considered it necessary that the national capital should get a proper stadium", and for raising resources, 43 corporate boxes were created at the Ferozeshah Kotla stadium. Further, tickets were sold in advance for 10 years and each seat sold for Rs.1 lakh. He said the DDCA raised another Rs.35 crore by selling space for putting signage.

He said the Board of Control for Cricket in India offered Rs.50 crore for constructing a bigger stadium.

"By tendering process, the contract was given to Engineers India Ltd. The civil works were done for Rs.57 crore. 43 other works were to be done. These were predominantly done through their sub-contractor," Jaitley said.

The minister, who was frequently interrupted by Congress members, said the stadium was built at a total cost of Rs.114 crore, and in a dig at the Congress, noted the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Delhi was renovated at a cost of Rs.900 crore for the 2010 Commonwealth Games, during the UPA's rule.

He said the Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO), which went into the allegations concerning DDCA, did not say that the expenses were wrong.

"The allegations are baseless. They are wrong," Jaitley said. Referred to the defamation case he has filed against Aam Aadmi Party leaders, he said: "Since this issue has acquired overtones outside the house, (appropriate) remedies have been taken."

Speaking in the Lok Sabha, Azad said the SFIO had looked into only civil construction works.

He said the Central Bureau of Investigation had issued a notice to the DDCA regarding its affairs between 2008 and 2013 and "whatever the irregularities and criminals, they will come out".

Referring to the Congress demand for a JPC probe, he said the party should have sought a time-bound inquiry and "SIT over CBI which comes out with its findings in three-four months".

Talking to reporters later outside the house, Azad said people would have had greater faith if there was a high court-monitored special investigation team (SIT) probe in the DDCA affairs as the CBI was under the administrative control of the central government.

The house had witnessed an adjournment during the question hour with the Congress members coming near the speaker's podium and raising slogans against the finance minister.

The Rajya Sabha's proceedings were also disrupted as Congress members demanded Jaitley's resignation.

IANS

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