Congress seeks parliamentary panel on DDCA issue

New Delhi, Dec 21 (IANS) The Congress on Monday demanded a parliamentary probe panel on alleged DDCA irregularities and the resignation of Finance Minister Arun Jaitley but he rejected the charges against him as “baseless”.

Dissatisfied over Jaitley’s reply in the Lok Sabha, Congress members walked out of the house.

Raising the issue in the Lok Sabha after Question Hour, Congress leader K.C. Venugopal alleged that Jaitley was aware of the “irregularities” in the Delhi and Districts Cricket Association (DDCA) and that “he is also involved in the scam”.

“Therefore, we demand a Joint Parliamentary Committee (to probe the issue) and his resignation,” Venugopal 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.

Jaitley, a former chairman of DDCA, responded by saying that since Delhi did not have a cricket stadium, “we (the DDCA) considered it necessary that the national capital should get a proper stadium”.

Elaborating, Jaitley said the DDCA decided to raise resources and 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 (BCCI) 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. Forty-three 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.

Taking a dig at the Congress, Jaitley said the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium was renovated at a cost of Rs.900 crore for the 2010 Commonwealth Games, held during the then UPA government’s rule.

The minister 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.

The minister also referred to allegations made against him by Aam Aadmi Party leaders outside parliament and the defamation case filed by him.

“Since this issue has acquired overtones outside the house, (appropriate) remedies have been taken,” he said.

Seemingly dissatisfied with the minister’s reply, the Congress walked out of the house.

On Monday, the Rajya Sabha’s proceedings were also disrupted on the same issue with Congress members demanding Jaitley’s resignation over alleged irregularities in DDCA affairs.

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