DDCA rebuts allegations on financial irregularities against Arun Jaitley
New Delhi: The Delhi and District Cricket Association on Thursday again strongly refuted AAP's allegations of financial bunglings by Finance Minister and its former chief Arun Jaitley, saying that these charges were completely baseless and without any substance.
For the second successive day, the entire top brass of the DDCA addressed the press conference where they made a point by point rebuttal of the alleged charges made by the AAP against Jaitley.
AAP on Thursday alleged huge financial bunglings in DDCA during his 13 year-old tenure as its chief, saying large amounts were siphoned off through fake companies besides other irregularities including in team selection.
DDCA's working president Chetan Chauhan said that Jaitley had in fact worked for the betterment of cricket in general and had made the Feroz Shah Kotla stadium into a world class facility and it was uncalled for to drag him into this controversy.
Chauhan read out the break-up of expenses incurred during the renovation of Feroz Shah Kotla to substantiate that there were no siphoning of funds during Jaitley's tenure as DDCA president.
"We spoke yesterday and clarified a few points at our end. We are not hiding anything nor will we hide," he said. "Yesterday I said 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 which I wrongly said Rs 141 crore yesterday. I can provide the break-up," he added.
Asked how Jaitley can get a clean chit, 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
"Also in 2012, the government was different and enquiry completed during the tenure of the previous government and all the irregularities were taken care of. So Mr Jaitley was not in power at that time," said Chauhan.
Asked why Jaitley quit as DDCA chief in 2013, Chauhan said, "Because Assembly elections were there. We wanted him to continue but Lok Sabha elections were there. He never interfered in day-to-day working. As someone who has done tremendous service, we always fall back to him. "Yes, we always fall back for his guidance whenever he can afford some time because of his enormous experience.
According to DDCA bylaws, all powers rest with EC and president never had separate powers," he said. He reiterated that the Delhi government has no locus standi to investigate the DDCA issue.
"They conducted enquiry, please tell us what are terms of reference. We did not know they formed an enquiry committee. They told us please come and discuss. They have no powers to ask us questions as we are Section 25 company and we come under Union Company Affairs Ministry," said Chauhan. On the charges made by former cricketer Kirti Azad who has been running a sustained campaign against DDCA, Chauhan said that he was offered to be part of the advisory committee but he started forcing himself in the selection committee meetings.
"We made a Cricket Advisory Committee but then he said he wanted a room and a steno. Then he wanted to force himself in selection committee meetings where I was chairman of selectors. Now we had to tell them we brought you to advice and not take over," Chauhan said.
Asked about Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir complaints of corruption in Delhi team selection, Chauhan said, "No one interfered (in team selection). 90 percent time we go with captain. As far as Viru calling DDCA corrupt, he will learn about how his new state association (Haryana) is run. Let us not get into that."
Chauhan also said that the DDCA had proper documents regarding the Kotla stadium.
"We have proper allotment letters and lease deed has been done. We are not sitting on this plot of land illegally as AAP has alleged," he said.
Speaking about the current scenario in the DDCA, he said, "The president after Jaitley ji, we have suspended him and matter us sub-judice. He has got interim relief. I don't want to take his name. It's just that we are following due process."
Further elaborating on the break-ups incurred while renovating the stadium, Chauhan said, " Pitch and ground relaying was done at Rs 51 lakh, electricity by Bajaj at Rs 35 and floodlight was done by GE for Rs 1.61 crore for lights and pillars of floodlight was Rs 2.67 crore.
Wiring was done for 3.31 crore. AC super built for Rs 48 lakh. "Hockey Stadium was renovated for Rs 300 crore and Jawaharlal Nehru (football) stadium renovation was Rs 1200," Chauhan said to make his point about the low cost of the Kotla renovation.
"Contractor's 10 percent commission was also done away with. Expenses for fire system was of Rs 90 lakh, lifts for 96 lakh, Volta's AC 73 lakh," he added. "Corporate box earning of Rs 34.96 lakh, BCCI gave Rs 50 crore. From IPL earning, we have earned Rs 7.5 to 8 crore every year," he added.
DDCA treasurer Ravinder Manchanda said that the report they (AAP) are showing was of DDCA's Fact Finding Committee.