The row over alleged irregularities in the Delhi District Cricket Association (DDCA) intensified on Monday as Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitely filed a civil defamation suit in the High Court and a criminal suit at Patiala House Court against Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and five other AAP leaders.
The other five leaders who are facing defamation charges are Ashutosh, Sanjay Singh, Kumar Vishwas, Deepak Bajpai and AAP's national spokesperson Raghav Chadha, ANI reported.
The Aam Aadmi Party leaders had alleged financial irregularities in the DDCA during Jaitley's tenure as the chief of the association from 1999 to 2013. The AAP had also demanded Jaitley's resignation for his alleged involvement in the scam.
The allegations were made after the CBI raided the office of Kejriwal's personal secretary Rajendra Kumar for his supposed involvement in a corruption case that dates back to Sheila Dixit's tenure as the chief minister of Delhi.
The AAP leaders believe that the Centre wanted to stall the probe into the alleged DDCA corruption, involving Jaitley, through the CBI raid. They alleged that large amounts were siphoned off through fake companies during Jaitley's tenure. The AAP also alleged irregularities in selection of teams.
They claimed the cost of reconstruction of DDCA's cricket ground, Feroze Shah Kotla, saw a sharp rise from Rs 24 crore to Rs 114 crore between 2002 to 2007. The AAP alleged that the DDCA had initially given a contract worth Rs 24 crore to Engineering Projects India Limited (EPIL) for the reconstruction of the stadium, but it shot up to Rs 57 crore.
"In the year 2012, the Director, Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO), Ministry of Corporate Affairs received complaints regarding financial irregularities in the construction of Ferozeshah Kotla Stadium by DDCA (a section 25 Non-profit Company)," AAP had said on Wednesday.
"During the course of investigation the DDCA conceded that reconstruction of Kotla was carried out between 2002 to 2007. The initial budget was Rs 24 crore but eventually ended up costing Rs114 crore. As per the investigation by the SFIO, the original contract was for Rs 24 crore. However, the final payment was made for Rs 114 crore," it said.
"It was also revealed during the investigation that there was no record of tender for most of the contracts issued by DDCA for construction of the stadium. Many companies that were given contracts of construction and allied work of Ferozeshah Stadium were actually owned by the office bearers of the DDCA," it alleged.
However, the finance minister had called the allegations as "untruth" and said "it is a part of propaganda technique to deflect attention when you yourselves are in the dock".
"I have left cricket administration in 2013. By referring to some facts of 2014 and 2015, he can't drag me in," he added in a post on Facebook.
On the allegations of financial irregularities in the infrastructure sector, Jaitley wrote: "There are fake allegations such as escalation of cost of construction of a stadium. When work expands, cost escalations are integral. A brand new 42,000 capacity world class stadium was constructed by the EPIL, a public sector body at a total cost of around Rs.114 crores".
Jaitley seeks Rs 10 crore damages from the AAP leaders for making "false" statements against him over alleged irregularities in DDCA.
— Press Trust of India (@PTI_News) December 21, 2015