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Don’t try to intimidate us: AAP hits back at Jaitley on defamation suit

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New Delhi: The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Monday hit back at Finance Minister Arun Jaitley hours after the BJP leader filed a Rs 10 crore civil defamation suit against Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal and five other top party leaders for levelling “baseless” allegations of corruption in DDCA, warning him that they “are here to eradicate corruption, don’t try to intimidate us.”

This comes hours after Kejriwal said that the Delhi government had resolved to set up a commission of inquiry into the alleged DDCA scam.

Jaitley has sought Rs 10 crore damages from the AAP leaders – who have demanded the Finance Minister’s resignation – for making “false” statements against him over alleged irregularities in the DDCA which he headed for 13 years till 2013.

“It is unfortunate for the country that the people who should be doing government work are coming to register a case. Arun Jaitley did not need to take money from DDCA as he was getting money from the back door. Jaitley still hasn’t replied to my five charges. We are people who are here to eradicate corruption, don’t try to intimidate us,” AAP leader and former journalist Ashutosh said.

Another party leader Sanjay Singh slammed the cabinet ministers for rushing to court “to defend corrupt Arun Jaitley”.

Today many cabinet ministers left government work to go to court to defend corrupt Arun Jaitley. He can fight by any means. We won’t stop exposing the corruption that has been going on for 15 years. They cannot scare us. Kirti Azad has been raising his voice against Jaitley for 8 years, but that voice has always been suppressed. We are setting up a commission of inquiry under Gopal Subramanium,” AAP leader Sanjay Singh said.

Jaitley – flanked by top ministers like Venkaiah Naidu, Smriti Irani and Piyush Goyal – went to the Patiala House Court where he filed the suit. Jaitley told the court that he did not take a “single penny” from the cricket body.

The court took cognizance of the FM’s complaint and scheduled the next hearing in the case for January 5.

This comes as BJP MP Kirti Azad – who has alleged massive financial irregularities in Delhi’s cricket board – called for a CBI inquiry in the scam in the Lok Sabha and also dared Jaitley to sue him.

Defending Jaitley, Union Miniter Nirmala Sitharaman said outside the court, “The charges are baseless. We will fight this in the Courts and discuss it in Parliament also.”

Union Minister JP Nadda said that the BJP leaders were present at the court “to support Jaitley, who has had a clean life and has helped the poor.”

Kejriwal has demanded Jaitley must resign or be removed from his post as union finance minister to enable an independent probe into DDCA matters. The city government has reportedly ordered a probe into the DDCA’s working.

Jaitley made a statement in the Lok Sabha amid protests by Congress MPs on Monday, saying that “All these allegations of corruption in DDCA are baseless and devoid of truth.”

The Finance Minister told the House that under his leadership in just Rs 114 crore, a stadium of 42,000 capacity was made. However, when Congress was in power, the 14,000 capacity Jawahar Lal Nehru (JLN) stadium was renovated for around Rs 900 crore, he claimed.

As Jaitley was making the statement, the Congress MPs continued to raise slogans and disrupting him.

An exasperated Jaitley apparently screamed at the Congress lawmakers asking them to “sit down”.

“Please sit down. Facts will be extremely inconvenient,” he said.

Taking a dig at Jaitley, Kiriti Azad said in Lok Sabha, “Yes the stadium was made in 114 crore, but we know what the condition of the stadium is right now.”

Meanwhile, the Rajya Sabha was adjourned till 2 pm following the uproar over DDCA scam.

Addressing the media on Sunday with former player Bishan Singh Bedi, Azad sought an investigation by the Enforcement Directorate into the working of the DDCA. (With inputs from agencies; image: Jagran.com)

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Blow for Kejriwal: EC recommends disqualification of 20 AAP MLAs

A big blow to the Aam Aadmi Party after the Election Commission recommended disqualification of 20 of its MLAs

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Arvind Kejriwal's party seems to be in trouble after the EC recommended disqualification of 20 of its MLAs. Wikimedia commons
Arvind Kejriwal's party seems to be in trouble after the EC recommended disqualification of 20 of its MLAs. Wikimedia Commons
  • The EC recommended disqualification of 20 AAP MLAs under the ‘office of profit’ pretext
  • AAP looks forward to approaching the Delhi High court
  • The controversy started after Prashant Patel had submitted an application to the President

The Election Commission has recommended the disqualification 20 AAP MLAs. The EC found them guilty of holding an ‘office of profit’. The recommendation has been sent to the President. If cleared, the disqualification would mean that AAP’s strength in Delhi Assembly will reduce from 67 to 47.

The 20 AAP legislators were accused of being unconstitutionally appointed as parliamentary secretaries to assist various ministers of the Delhi government. The EC’s opinion on this matter means that the AAP legislators are set to be disqualified, which could soon force a mini Assembly election in the national capital.

The party now looks forward to approach the Delhi High Court, pleading that the recommendation be struck down. Wikimedia Commons
The party now looks forward to approaching the Delhi High Court, pleading that the recommendation is struck down. Wikimedia Commons

“This is unprecedented. The MLAs in question didn’t get a chance to present their case before the EC. In fact, we didn’t hear the news from the EC, but news channels,” AAP spokesperson Saurabh Bhardwaj said.

ALSO READ: Anna Hazare comes out in open support about Chanda Bandh Satyagraha against Aam Aadmi Party (AAP)

Opposition parties have demanded the immediate resignation of Arvind Kejriwal as chief minister of Delhi on moral ground.

The ‘office of profit’ controversy had started after a lawyer, Prashant Patel, had filed an application in 2015 to the President’s office. It questioned the appointment of AAP MLAs as parliamentary secretaries.

The Congress had filed a petition in Election Commission in 2016 as a follow-up, based on this application. The opposition party sought disqualification of 21 AAP MLAs.

Kejriwal had appointed MLAs in March 2015 and his government passed an amendment to the Delhi Members of Legislative Assembly (Removal of Disqualification) Act, 1997, in June 2015. Wikimedia Commons

AAP had argued that this post did not qualify as an office of profit as there is no monetary benefit attached to it. But then President Pranab Mukherjee refused to give assent, following which the appointments were set aside by the Delhi High Court in September 2016, declaring them illegal since the order had been passed “without concurrence/approval of the Lt Governor”.

ALSO READ: Discontentment in the Aam Aadmi Party is resulting in Resignation and withdrawals from the party

In the first reaction to the EC recommendation, AAP spokesperson Nagendar Sharma tweeted:

Here’s the list of 20 MLAs who have been recommended to be disqualified: 

1. Naresh Yadav (Mehrauli)
2. Som Dutt (Sadar Bazar)
3. Praveen Kumar (Jangpura)
4. Nitin Tyagi (Laxmi Nagar)
5. Adarsh Shastri (Dwarka)
6. Sanjeev Jha (Burari)
7. Jarnail Singh (Tilak Nagar)
8. Sukhvir Singh (Mundka)
9. Madan Lal (Kasturba Nagar)
10. Sarita Singh (Rohtas Nagar)
11. Alka Lamba (Chandni Chowk)
12. Rajesh Rishi (Janakpuri)
13. Anil Kumar Bajpai (Gandhi Nagar)
14. Manoj Kumar (Kondli)
15. Kailash Gahlot (Najafgarh)
16. Avtar Singh (Kalkaji)
17. Vijendar Garg Vijay (Rajinder Nagar)
18. Rajesh Gupta (Wazirpur)
19. Sharad Kumar (Narela)
20. Shiv Charan Goel (Moti Nagar)