Minutes of meetings show Arun Jaitley actively involved in DDCA affairs
New Delhi,CHANDER SHEKHAR LUTHRA(dna): dna has in its possession minutes of several meetings of the Delhi & District Cricket Association (DDCA) over the last few years that punch holes in the claim made by union finance minister Arun Jaitley that ‘he had nothing to do with the day-to-day affairs/ administration in DDCA all the while he was heading the cricket body’.
Recently Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal had alleged that the DDCA was hit by corruption during Jaitlely’s 13 years and 10 months’ rule. The latter had claimed he wasn’t involved in the day-to-day affairs of the cricket body.
Even the ruling party BJP and many of its spokespersons including union human resource minister Smriti Irani, quoted the Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) report “that Jaitley was a non-functional executive”.
However, a look at all the DDCA meetings held during Jaitley’s long tenure completely rubbishes his or his party’s claims. Minutes of several meetings, which are in dna’s possession, show that Jaitley not only was in control of the DDCA affairs but also attended the meetings held at various venues including his office premises at Udyog Bhawan during his tenure as minister of commerce & industry and law & justice during the then NDA government in 2003.
Also, evidences show that Jaitley attended regular meetings of DDCA during his tenure as president between 1999 and 2013, and he was privy to all the decisions – from selections to building of stadium.
Following the allegations, Jaitley had slapped defamation case against Kejriwal. The chief minister, in his reply to the lawsuit, has cited various DDCA meetings as proof of the union minister’s involvement and indulgence in day-to-day affairs.
“It is now up to Mr Jaitley to answer why meetings of a ‘private club under Section 25’ were convened at his government office?” asked a senior DDCA functionary on Thursday.
On September 1, 2003 at Udyog Bhawan, Jaitley chaired a meeting and apprised the members about the contract received from 21st Century and that they had given a rough estimate of raising approximately Rs 35 crore from the sale of corporate boxes/ ends/ stands. He also requested treasurer Narinder Batra, Suresh Chopra and Sunil Mittal to look into the legal aspects of the contract.
Surprisingly, these boxes were later found to be illegally constructed by the Land and Development Office (L& DO) were ‘subleased’ by DDCA through 21st Century, by expressly stating that DDCA had the approvals to license/ lease these boxes, which was actually not the case.
In an earlier meeting at Udyog Bhawan on August 2, 2003, 21st Century Media Pvt Ltd gave its full presentation, asking DDCA to to pay them 15 per cent commission on the sale of boxes, out of which it agreed to spend approx 8-9 per cent on the maintenance of boxes over 10 years. Batra gave all the required details of expenses that were to be spent by 21st Century on such maintenance over the next 10 years.
Not surprisingly, after bagging the contract, 21st Century quietly pocketed the 15 per cent commission and no subsequent record seems to suggest that they carried any maintenance of the corporate boxes.
In a meeting at the Ferozeshah Kotla premises on April 1, 2005, Jaitley reportedly enquired from various members involved in looking after the construction activity whether the stadium would be match-ready for hosting the Indo-Pak One-dayer on April 17, which the then Pakistan president Pervez Musharraf was expected to attend.
Chetan Chauhan and Narinder Batra gave an assurance that the match could be made ready if they worked on a war footing. In this particular meeting, it was decided to open an account with Central Bank of India, Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg, which would be operated by any two of six office bearers including Jaitley.
In various subsequent meetings, contracts for civil works to EPIL, air-conditioning work, etc. were discussed but apparently, except the EPIL contract in the beginning, the various cost escalations were never specifically approved.
In the meeting held on June 28, 2004, Jaitley apprised the house that DDCA had already gone into contracts to the tune of Rs 26 crore with various corporate houses by way of selling corporate boxes/ ends/ stands and that DDCA could still raise approx Rs 10 crore from remaining sites.
Secretary Sneh Bansal and Batra further apprised the house that there was an increase of approx Rs 6 to 7 crore from the earlier estimated cost of project because of additional work that was added afterwards. The House agreed to forward these to the new committee formed for this purpose.
In the meeting held on March 30, 2004 at Udyog Bhawan, Jaitley reportedly chaired the meeting and two directors were given responsibility to oversee the accounts relating to the construction of Kotla stadium and Batra was drafted in as an additional signatory for operation of DDCA’s bank account.
There are several other minutes that clearly show Jaitley’s involvement in routine DDCA work with DDCA executive committee members only to nod their heads in acceptance.
Posted by Konima Choudhary
on January 15, 2016. Filed under State
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