NEW DELHI: Former India player Kirti Azad on Sunday alleged massive financial irregularities in Delhi's cricket board even as the city government said it had ordered a probe into the DDCA's working.
Addressing the media with former player Bishan Singh Bedi, Azad sought an investigation by the Enforcement Directorate into the working of the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA).
While Azad refrained from naming anyone for the alleged bungling, Delhi's ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) again sought the sacking of Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who for years headed the DDCA. Simultaneously, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal announced that former solicitor general Gopal Subramanium would head a commission to probe the functioning of the DDCA.
Jaitley has denied the corruption charges hurled against him, and dubbed Azad, a leader - like him - of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) a "Trojan Horse". Azad repeatedly underlined that he was not targeting any individual and that he had nothing to do with the attacks on Jaitley by the AAP, which he said "was born the other day" and was only echoing what he had been saying for eight long years.
He alleged that the DDCA gave contracts to fake companies, paying them crores of rupees in cash and had fudged the audit of accounts. He played a video produced by WikiLeaks4India which claimed that some of the companies favoured by the DDCA had given fictitious addresses.
"If the companies were fake, surely the bank accounts into which the money was paid must also be fake," he said.
He alleged that the DDCA hired office and other equipment at vastly inflated prices. Laptops and printers were hired at Rs.17,000 and Rs.3,000 a day, respectively. "I just want to expose corruption... I repeat this is not (a) personal (issue) or (directed) against one person. It is against corruption," Azad said.
A member of the Indian team that won the World Cup in 1983, Azad refuted Jaitley's charge that he (Azad) had met Congress president Sonia Gandhi to target the finance minister. "If someone is pointing a finger at me, he must know that three fingers will point back at him," he said.
Azad's comments came a day after the BJP leadership reportedly tried to gag him on the cricketing issue because of the embarrassment being caused to the party. On his part, Azad said he was a "fan" of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Jaitley, who headed the DDCA for 13 years till 2013, has also been accused of corruption by the Congress and the AAP. Soon after Azad detailed what he said was the financial wrongdoing in the DDCA, the AAP asked Modi to sack Jaitley from the government.
"Jaitley is the Suresh Kalmadi of BJP," AAP leader Ashutosh told the media, referring to the former Congress MP who was linked to the alleged corruption in the 2010 Commonwealth Games. "He should be immediately sacked."
Another AAP leader, Kumar Vishwas, wanted to know if Modi would continue to retain Jaitley in his cabinet even after knowing the details of the corruption charges.
He said the real reason the CBI raided Kejriwal's office on December 15 in the name of targeting his principal secretary Rajendra Kumar was to study the file which had the report of a three-member team which - on Kejriwal's orders - probed the alleged financial wrongdoing in the DDCA.
The Central Bureau of Investigation has denied searching Kejriwal's office. "Kirti Azad has made it clear that Jaitley is the head of the (DDCA) scam. He should be removed," said Sanjay Singh, another AAP leader.