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BJP MP Azad: DDCA case 'not a personal matter' against Jaitley

Suyash Upadhyaya | Updated on: 14 February 2017, 2:02 IST

The mud-slinging

  • Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal has made allegations against Union minister Arun Jaitley in the DDCA corruption case
  • Jaitley, the former DDCA president, has called the allegations \'rubbish\'
  • The Congress has also joined in the demand for Jaitley\'s resignation

The whistleblower

  • BJP MP Kirti Azad has been trying to expose corruption in the DDCA for a number of years
  • He says the issue is not a political one at all; it\'s a question of ethics

More in the story

  • Azad says it\'s not a personal matter against Jaitley - is this because they\'re from the same party?
  • Wikileaks4India\'s sting operation into the DDCA

The last one week has seen the issue of corruption within the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) take on distinctly political hues.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal of the Aam Aadmi Party has made accusations against former DDCA president and Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley of the BJP, and has been joined by the Congress party in demanding the senior leader's resignation or dismissal.

Both the AAP and Congress have supported their own statements with documents released into the public domain, without mentioning the man who released them.

Read: The miracle that is the DDCA. Or why Kejriwal is going after Jaitley

That's the irony: this was never a political issue. The man who has led the crusade against the DDCA for nearly a decade, even while Jaitley was running the show, is BJP MP and former India cricketer Kirti Azad.

The conference and the sting

On Sunday, 20 December, Azad, along with former India captain Bishan Singh Bedi addressed a press conference, where an organisation called Wikileaks4India released a sting operation against the DDCA. It must be mentioned here that Wikileaks4India has no relation to the international non-profit organisation, WikiLeaks.

The operation attempted to unearth the truth behind allegations of embezzlement of funds, diverting money through fake channels such as false companies with the same addresses and owners.

Azad fielded most of the questions at the conference in the capital, but it was clear from his statements that he was looking to steer clear of attacking Jaitley personally. He insisted that the issue was one of ethics and principles, not a personal matter.

"I have been demanding justice for over 7-8 years, and that is all I'm continuing to do. Don't make an issue about corruption a political one; our fight is about ethics and principles," Azad said.

Previous confrontations

Asked about the timing of the press conference, coming as it does on the heels of the Kejriwal-Jaitley face-off, Azad maintained that this wasn't a one off. He insisted that he had been speaking about corruption in the DDCA for "many years".

"We were going to have the press conference in any case. It is an added bonus that Wikileaks4India came to us with the video yesterday," said Azad.

This is not the first time that Azad has found himself at odds with Jaitley over the running of the DDCA.

BJP MP Kirti Azad has been trying to expose DDCA corruption for "7-8 years", when Jaitley was boss

Another video played at the press conference, dated 30 December 2012, showed Azad demanding answers from Jaitley at the DDCA's annual general meeting. Jaitley didn't answer any of the questions directly, even when accused of forging signatures on over 175 official documents.

Azad had also written a letter to Jaitley about five months ago, in which he expressed his disappointment that no action was being taken against the perpetrators of corruption in the DDCA.

'I pray action is taken now'

AAP supremo Kejriwal made the allegations against Jaitley after the CBI raided the secretariat to find proof of corruption against principal secretary Rajendra Kumar.

Jaitley had dismissed the claims as 'rubbish' and said he could not answer 'ambiguous' questions, demanding specific ones.

Also read: Despite Kotla relief, here's why DDCA is still a mess

In response, AAP had alleged tax evasion, forgery, illegal payments and criminal breach of trust. The BJP had answered with allegations of its own against the AAP, accusing it of trying to divert attention from the internal corruption within the party.

Sidestepping this political mudslinging, Azad reiterated that he was not directly accusing Jaitley of anything. He did, however, say that since corruption had evidently taken place, the matter had to be looked into seriously. "I pray that action is taken now," Azad said.

For his part, Bedi, who had originally drawn Kejriwal's attention to the matter by demanding probes and making complaints, lauded Azad for his "courage to speak on the issue".

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First published: 20 December 2015, 11:36 IST
Suyash Upadhyaya @SuyashU

A believer of the Indian football dream and an ardent cricket fan who likes to explore the nuanced side of all sports, Suyash finds creative expression in sports writing. Lover of literature, Liverpool FC, and an earnest economics enthusiast, he has just joined Catch News after completing his post graduation at Xavier Institute of Communications, Mumbai. When not staying up the whole night watching football, he loves spending time playing the sport itself, reading, and generally wondering when he'll decipher everything about the world around him.