Congress demands JPC probe into DDCA, Jaitley’s resignation

New Delhi, Dec 16 (IANS) Alleging serious financial irregularities in the DDCA, the Congress on Wednesday demanded a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) probe and said Finance Minister Arun Jaitley should not continue as minister till the probe was completed.

There were “gross financial irregularities” in the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) which had been headed by Jaitley, Congress senior spokesperson Ajay Maken said.

“The Congress demands that Jaitley’s tenure as DDCA chief and his team’s gross financial irregularities in the cricket body should be inquired into by a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC),” Maken told reporters here.

Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad and Leader of the Congress party in the Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge were also present at the press conference held in the Parliament House complex.

Maken, a former union sports minister, said there was “no hope of a fair probe till Jaitley was the finance minister” and demanded his resignation till the probe was completed.

The Congress leader slammed Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal for his remarks that the Aam Aadmi Party government was to order a Commission of Inquiry into DDCA affairs.

Maken said the power to order an inquiry in Delhi rested with the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi.

He said Kejriwal should have instead favoured a court-monitored CBI probe into the issue or registered an FIR.

“His (Kejriwal’s) intention was not to act into the serious allegations of irregularities in the DDCA,” Maken said.

Maken released copies of a report of the committee constituted by the Kejriwal government to inquire into the affairs of the DDCA.

He referred to a question by BJP MP Kirti Azad posed to the government in August and said the Lok Sabha was informed that corporate affairs ministry had ordered inspection of books of account and other records of DDCA in 2012.

He said the inspection report revealed that the Registrar of Companies (RoC) in its order of August last year had named four officials — Sunil Dev, Narender Batra, S.P. Bansal and C.K. Khanna — as “officers in default”.

He said the officers had applied for compounding of offences and this was forwarded by the RoC to the Company Law Board (CLB).

Maken said Jaitley was chairman of DDCA from December 1999 to December 2013 and alleged that the four officers “are known for their proximity” to him.

Maken said DDCA had conceded to Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO), which was probing its affairs, that cost of reconstruction of Ferozshah Kotla ground had gone up from Rs.24 crore to Rs.114 crore.

Maken alleged that the probe had revealed that there was no record of tender for most of the contracts and many companies given construction contracts and allied work were actually owned by office-bearers of DDCA.

The Congress leader said DDCA had “illegally constructed” 10 corporate boxes in the stadium and sub-leased these for 10 years for about Rs.36 crore.

He said other irregularities had been found by SFIO during Jaitley’s tenure as DDCA chief and alleged that there was “non-disclosure of annual accounts” and “non-maintenance of accounts of expenditure and income”.

Maken said the internal fact-finding team constituted by DDCA, which inquired into its accounts for 2013-14, found there was “huge financial irregularity”.

It said the probe found that many “spurious and illegitimate payments” had been made to some companies in 2013-14.

“Substantial payments were made to 9 companies which, on investigation, turned out to have the same registered office, same e-mail IDs as well as common directors. Duplicate bills were issued and the reasons for payments falsified by ledger entries,” Maken said.

The Congress leaders said the committee had talked about payment to companies which did not undertake that task and payment of heavy professional charges to “many personal firms”.

“The committee reported payment of Rs.1.15 crore to 16 such firms,” the Congress leaders alleged.

Maken said Kirti Azad had lodged a FIR in December last year “on the issue of acceptance of forged certificates by DDCA”.

He said the DDCA had been holding international cricket matches since 2005 without obtaining occupancy certificate.

Maken said the probe committee set up by Delhi government had confirmed that “large scale unauthorised construction without requisite permissions”.

Maken also referred to two-member commission constituted by Delhi’s Tis Hazari court and said its prima-facie findings stated that there is acute lack of transparency.

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