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Attack on Arun Jaitley will harm AAP in long run: Amit Shah

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New Delhi: BJP President Amit Shah on Monday came in support of Finance Minister Arun Jaitley who finds himself caught in a cleft stick over allegations of corruption in the DDCA, warning that the attacks on the latter will harm the Aam Aadmi Party in the long run.

“The whole country knows that Arun ji has spent all his life following certain principles. The AAP is day dreaming if it thinks that due to its allegations his image will be spoiled… The attacks on Arun ji will harm the Aam Aadmi Party in the long run,” Shah said.

This comes as the Congress on Monday demanded a parliamentary probe into alleged DDCA irregularities and sought the resignation of Jaitley, who had been long at its helm, rejected the charges against him as “baseless”.

Bharatiya Janata Party MP and former cricketer Kirti Azad meanwhile called for a time-bound Special Investigation probe into the Delhi and Districts Cricket Association (DDCA) affairs and claimed that Aam Aadmi Party and the Congress were only using papers/documents compiled by him on the issue.

Congress members walked out of the Lok Sabha after expressing dissatisfaction over Jaitley’s reply to the charges which he dubbed as “wrong and baseless”.

Raising the issue in the house after Question Hour, Congress leader K C Venugopal alleged that Jaitley was aware of the “irregularities” in the DDCA, and said Kirti Azad, in his press conference on Sunday, had given “solid evidence.”

“We demand a Joint Parliamentary Committee (to probe the issue) and his resignation,” he said.

Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Rajiv Pratap Rudy said the Congress member had made an uncalled for statement and personally targeted the finance minister.

In his response, Jaitley said, “We (the DDCA) considered it necessary that the national capital should get a proper stadium”, and for raising resources, 43 corporate boxes were created at the Ferozeshah Kotla stadium. Further, tickets were sold in advance for 10 years and each seat sold for Rs.1 lakh. He said the DDCA raised another Rs.35 crore by selling space for putting signage.

He said the Board of Control for Cricket in India offered Rs.50 crore for constructing a bigger stadium.

“By tendering process, the contract was given to Engineers India Ltd. The civil works were done for Rs.57 crore. 43 other works were to be done. These were predominantly done through their sub-contractor,” Jaitley said.

The minister, who was frequently interrupted by Congress members, said the stadium was built at a total cost of Rs.114 crore, and in a dig at the Congress, noted the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Delhi was renovated at a cost of Rs.900 crore for the 2010 Commonwealth Games, during the UPA’s rule.

He said the Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO), which went into the allegations concerning DDCA, did not say that the expenses were wrong.

“The allegations are baseless. They are wrong,” Jaitley said. Referred to the defamation case he has filed against Aam Aadmi Party leaders, he said: “Since this issue has acquired overtones outside the house, (appropriate) remedies have been taken.”

Speaking in the Lok Sabha, Azad said the SFIO had looked into only civil construction works.

He said the Central Bureau of Investigation had issued a notice to the DDCA regarding its affairs between 2008 and 2013 and “whatever the irregularities and criminals, they will come out”.

Referring to the Congress demand for a JPC probe, he said the party should have sought a time-bound inquiry and “SIT over CBI which comes out with its findings in three-four months”.

Talking to reporters later outside the house, Azad said people would have had greater faith if there was a high court-monitored special investigation team (SIT) probe in the DDCA affairs as the CBI was under the administrative control of the central government.

The house had witnessed an adjournment during the question hour with the Congress members coming near the speaker’s podium and raising slogans against the finance minister.

The Rajya Sabha’s proceedings were also disrupted as Congress members demanded Jaitley’s resignation. (With inputs from agencies)

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Saw AAP MLAs Assaulting Chief Secretary, CM’s Advisor Tells Police

The AAP defended by stating that Jain had initially told police that he did not witness any assault and police has threatened Jain to change his statement

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The AAP had denied the charges of assault and said that the Chief Secretary was making allegations at the behest of the BJP. Wikimedia Commons

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s adviser V. K. Jain on Thursday told police that he saw AAP MLAs Amanatullah Khan and Prakash Jarwal “physically assaulting” Chief Secretary Anshu Prakash, according to Jain’s statement recorded by the Delhi Police.

The AAP defended by stating that Jain had initially told police that he did not witness any assault and police has threatened Jain to change his statement.

On Tuesday, the Chief Secretary had alleged that he was beaten up by the two AAP MLAs in the presence of Kejriwal at the Chief Minister’s residence on Monday night, where he had been called for an emergency meeting.

ALSO READ: The assault on Chief Secretary exposes the double standards of AAP government

Police later arrested Khan and Jarwal and they were sent to judicial custody till Thursday.

According to the Chief Secretary, the Chief Minister’s adviser had called him over the phone and asked him to come to the Chief Minister’s residence for the meeting and Jain was also present there.

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According to the statement, Jain also saw that the Chief Secretary’s spectacles had fallen to the ground and the Chief Secretary picked them up and left the room. Wikimedia Commons

On Thursday, the Delhi Police submitted Jain’s statement at a city court, which said that Jain had gone to the washroom during the meeting and as he came out he saw the two AAP MLAs “physically assaulting” the Chief Secretary.

The statement was recorded under Section 161 of the CrPC, which means that it was recorded in front of the police and not a magistrate.

Sources told IANS that Jain later recorded his statement in front of a magistrate under section 164 of the CrPC.

“The statement under section 164 was later recorded with the magistrate in front a camera, without the presence of police. In that statement also he (Jain) has said that he saw the two MLAs physically assaulting the Chief Secretary,” a police officer privy to the case told IANS.

The officer said that the statement under section 164 has also been submitted to the court.

Jain was first questioned on Wednesday morning and then again on Thursday and his statement was recorded on Thursday.

The change in Jain’s statement that the AAP was referring to was from a “question and answer” with Jain recorded by police after questioning him on Wednesday.

According to a copy of Wednesday’s “question and answer” recorded by police, when asked whether Jain saw the Chief Secretary being manhandled, he replied that he had gone to the washroom in between the meeting and he could not say what happened during that time.

“By putting pressure on him (Jain) throughout the day (Thursday) and by threatening him, police has forced him to change his statement,” AAP MP Sanjay Singh told the media here on Thursday.

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Singh said that the whole issue was a conspiracy to “bring down the Delhi government” and to “defame the AAP”. Wikimedia Commons

 

“How is it that the same Jain who emphatically said yesterday that he witnessed no assault during the entire time that he was present there has now claimed otherwise?” he asked.

Singh said that AAP MLAs were being arrested over an alleged assault of which there was no proof.

“But on the other hand, despite there being video footage of officials assaulting Delhi Cabinet Minister Imran Hussain, there is no action taken against the guilty by the Delhi Police,” the AAP MP said.

The court on Thursday sent the two AAP MLAs, arrested on charges of assaulting the Chief Secretary, to judicial custody for 14 days.

ALSO READ: Delhi Chief Secretary row: AAP MLA arrested

Orders on the bail pleas of the two AAP MLAs and also on their police custody will be pronounced on Friday.

Meanwhile, scores of Delhi government employees across the city observed a five-minute silence outside their respective offices as a protest against the alleged assault on the Chief Secretary.

The IAS Association said that officers would continue the protest every day, till steps are taken to “ensure safety and dignity” of government staff in the city.

The AAP also hit out at Lt Governor Anil Baijal by stating that he was “working as a BJP agent” and demanded action against those involved in “manhandling and beating up” Hussain and his aide at the Delhi Secretariat on Tuesday. (IANS)