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Delhi HC issues notice to Kejriwal, others in Jaitley defamation suit

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CBI raid on Kejriwal

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Tuesday issued a notice to Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and five other AAP leaders in a defamation suit filed by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.

The court sought replies from Kejriwal, Kumar Vishwas, Raghav Chadha, Ashutosh, Sanjay Singh and Deepak Bajpai by February 5, 2016.

Jaitley has sought Rs 10 crore in damages following the AAP leaders’ statements on alleged Delhi and District Cricket Association irregularities.

Jaitley also filed a criminal defamation complaint in a Patiala House court, saying that the statements of these leaders would cause “irreversible damage” to his reputation.

Jaitley headed the DDCA for 13 years till 2013.

Kejriwal has demanded that Jaitley must resign or be removed as union minister to enable free and fair probe into the DDCA issue.(IANS)

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Cricket board caught in a cleft stick as DDCA rejects Lodha commitee recomendations

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BCCI

New Delhi: BCCI is divided as The Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) rejects the recommendations of the Justice Rajendra Mal Lodha Committee on fair governance and accountability.DDCA thus becomes the only unit affiliated to the Indian cricket board to have rejected almost all the recommendations.

It was only expected of the DDCA to reject the recommendations lock stock and barrel when others state units have problems with certain portions of the comprehensive report prepared at the Supreme Court’s will.

The DDCA has the temerity to say that so long as its directors- it is registered under Companies Act- do not feel that there is any justification to change the system for the sake of uniformity, it will remain as it is. Thus, it also wants to continue with the obnoxious proxy voting system.

The Delhi association has a problem with every clause and does not want to change as it has perfected the art of circumventing the existing laws/rules/regulations over the years.

The apex court did not stop at accepting the committee’s report suggesting structural reforms in the functioning of the board in a clean transparent manner. It is firm on its implementation.

Chief Justice T S Thakur and Justice Fakkir Mohamed Ibrahim Kalifulla gave little room for the board to vacillate in implementing the recommendations without any reservations, saying since the committee held extensive deliberations with all stakeholders there should be no difficulty in accepting them.

The cricket board did not say anything immediately and had a long pause before murmurs started from state associations about the practical difficulties they will face in complying with the report.

The court kept the door ajar by asking the board to file its response before the next hearing on March 3. It also said in no uncertain terms that if the board has any problems in implementing the recommendations it will ask the Lodha Committee to ensure the implementation!

After the court has made its intention clear, the board has been left with little scope for any manoeuvre unless the committee agrees to listen to its pleas and tweak some of the recommendations.

Two weeks after the Supreme Court missive, the board called a Special General Meeting (SGM) on Friday but did not take up a clause-by-clause discussion, saying that the state associations sent on their observations and the board have its own.

So the board decided to file an affidavit with its secretary explaining why some of the recommendations are unimplementable and at the same time asked the state units to do likewise on the clauses affecting their functioning.

The board is identifying the people who have fed the committee with some weird inputs and want to impress upon it that most of the people who deposed before it have been at it for a number of years.

The board officials may name some lawyers, former players and event management companies who they feel have a grouse against the board and used the opportunity to settle scores.

The board anticipated the turn of events and will now flood the court with a spate of affidavits expressing their points of view over the implementation of the report in toto.

They may cite hurdles in implementing the one-state-one-vote norm, age cap and term of office and a cooling off period between two terms, funding players’ associations and including franchise owners in the Governing Council of the Indian Premier League (IPL).

However, the board will explain the issues that can crop up in changing its registration and amending its by-laws as it claims it can not dictate to the state units to change their constitutions. That’s the reason the states have been asked to file different affidavits.

Maharashtra, Mumbai and Vidarbha, Saurashtra, Gujarat and Baroda are unwilling to lose their voting rights and so are the Universities, Railways, Services, Cricket Club of India (CCI) and National Cricket Club (NCC).

Removing Services, Railways and Universities will in one stroke take away the government’s influence over the board to a large extent. These three votes invariably tilted the balance in the election. One can understand the CCI remaining as a voting member, but certainly not the NCC.

Mumbai and Saurashtra also do not want to lose their key officials, president Sharad Pawar, 75, and secretary Niranjan Shah, 71, respectively under the 70-year age cap.

Most of the state associations have also expressed reservations about a three-member selection committee saying it is well-nigh impossible for them to cover the entire country with more and more states joining the board. Strangely, this is one of the demands made for ages to remove regional bias.

The court stated that it could keep the Lodha panel alive so that it could help the BCCI overcome difficulties it might face in implementing the recommendations. Justice Lodha might become to the board what Justice Mukul Mudgal is for the DDCA!

Some senior office-bearers of the board are miffed at one-man-one-post norm as they do not want to lose their grip over their state associations which give them the clout to get on the board.

As is the case in this country, someone is already working to circumvent the recommendations just as a loophole in then sports minister Margaret Alva’s government guidelines permitted the czars of Indian sport to retain their control over the federations in some capacity after finishing their term as president/secretary/treasurer. Here, the Lodha Committee is clear that there has to be a cooling off period after one term in any capacity.

It will not be easy for the board and its affiliates to convince the Committee to dilute the report, but at the same time, it will find it difficult to implement.

The board is caught in a cleft stick! (Veturi Srivatsa, IANS)

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Kirti Azad to file petition in high court regarding DDCA row

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New Delhi: Kirti Azad, Former Indian cricketer requested for the appointment of an administrator to manage alleged financial irregularities in District Cricket Association (DDCA) and Delhi. He will also file a petition to the Delhi High Court regarding this.

The suspended Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Member of Parliament (MP) said the petition will also be impleading the central and state governments, Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) besides all current and former DDCA officials, including former President and current Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.

“Once Justice Mukul Mudgal’s second report (on financial irregularities) on DDCA is submitted, we will attach it with our written petition, demanding the appointment of an administrator. We would also demand a time-bound Special Investigative Team (SIT) probe on mismanagement that has been going on in DDCA,” Azad told reporters at his residence here.

“We will file a petition against the Centre as the Ministry of Corporate Affairs and Urban Development is part of it. Concerning the state government, my complaint is against the Entertainment Tax Department for not raising questions (about irregularities). I also hope CBI starts an inquiry and not be a ‘caged parrot’ as the Supreme Court has termed it.”

Azad thanked and praised Justice Mudgal for the successful conduct last year of the India-South Africa Test at the Ferozeshah Kotla in New Delhi.

“For the first time since 1982, DDCA made profit from a Test match. The last time DDCA made profit was in 1982 in the Test match against England,” the 57-year-old said.

“That is also because BCCI organised the match with state association officials being behind bars after a CBI enquiry. They (DDCA) are so shameless that they even tried to hoodwink Justice Mudgal by submitting fake bills,” said the former all-rounder.

The 1983 World Cup-winner released a letter he wrote to Jaitley, dated September 13, 2015, where he alleged that the senior BJP leader played a “nefarious role” in DDCA affairs.

BJP has suspended Azad for his attack on Jaitley and served him a show cause notice, asking why he should not be expelled. Azad claimed that BJP will revoke his suspension as he had not targeted the party or the government but only corruption.

Azad was accompanied by former international cricketers Maninder Singh and Surinder Khanna and Dronacharya awardee cricket coach Gurcharan Singh.(IANS)

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Kirti Azad vows to keep fighting graft in DDCA

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Kochi: Suspended Bharatiya Janata Party MP Kirti Azad on Sunday promised to keep fighting the corruption in DDCA. He said he would continue to fight graft in Delhi District Cricket Association.

Azad said he had sought an appointment with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the issue and was awaiting a response.

“No one can stop me… I will go on fighting corruption,” he told reporters here.

“I am happy that the BJP is soon going to hold a parliamentary party meeting on this (issue). I have been in the party for 24 years now. I really don’t know what wrong I have done,” the BJP Lok Sabha member said.

“I have written 200 letters and 500 emails to (former DDCA chairman and present finance minister) Arun Jaitley. I am not raising this issue against anyone as my aim is to fight corruption,” Azad said.

The BJP leader said the Ferozeshah Kotla in Delhi was renovated at a cost of Rs.58 crore but bills and vouchers for only Rs 25 crore were available.

“If one wants to learn corruption, the best way is to join the DDCA,” Azad said.

As for a defamation case against him, Azad said it would help him prove his point.

The MP from Darbhanga in Bihar was suspended on December 23 for what the BJP called “anti-party activities” after he alleged corruption in the cricket association that was earlier headed by Jaitley for 13 years.(IANS)