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Under Arun Jaitley corruption grew manifold in DDCA: Bishan Singh Bedi

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New Delhi: Former India captain Bishan Singh Bedi on Monday minced no words in excoriating Finance Minister Arun Jaitley over the alleged financial irregularities in the Delhi and Disctrict Cricket Association (DDCA), alleging that under the BJP leader’s tenure from 1999 to 2013 corruption in the cricket body grew manifold.

Absolutely! Let me spell it out explicitly – the corruption in DDCA was because of Jaitley’s connivance,” Bedi alleged in an interview with Scroll.

Bedi said documents were obtained under the Right to Information Act and it was quite self-explanatory how corruption grew, while pointed out a few charges against DDCA.

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

The Indian spinning great said the contract for the reconstruction of the Feroz Shah Kotla stadium was awarded by DDCA to the Engineers Projects India Limited, a public sector undertaking, on May 12, 2003. It was supposed to have been completed in a year at a cost of Rs 24 crore. Subsequently, DDCA expanded the civil work to include construction of corporate boxes. The reconstruction was said to have been completed by December 15, 2008, at a revised cost of Rs 57 crore.

However, Bedi alleged, DDCA officials went on a contract-awarding spree – for supposedly more “civil work”, electric work, interiors and installing of generators. DDCA documents show that an amount of Rs 114 crore was spent on building the stadium till 2012. It was, however, alleged that another Rs 25 crore was spent between 2012 and 2015 on paying companies which had done little or no work.

“The question is: How did a stadium, envisaged to be built at a cost of Rs 24 crore, ended up costing Rs 140 crore?”

He further alleged that one of the companies which bagged lucrative contracts was Kaushnik Buildcast Private Ltd and a related entity, Kaushnik Fab. Both were given contracts worth Rs 11 crore for “data cabling” and “interior work”! Documents revealed that Kaushnik Buildcast Pvt Ltd was incorporated as a company on June 29, 2009 – that is, a good six months after DDCA officially declared that work on the stadium had been completed by Dec 15, 2008. Then again, Kaushnik Buildcast Pvt Ltd turned out to be a front company with a fake address. Contracts were awarded without calling for competing bids.

“The various inquiry reports have a plethora of information which suggests a web of financial transactions involving sham companies with fake names and even fake addresses. There are allegations of round-tripping, of contracts being awarded without tender, for work which allegedly did not work. Apart from these charges of fraud in the reconstruction of Feroz Shah Kotla stadium, nepotism in selection and corruption in DDCA had always been there.”

He rubbished Jaitley’s claim that he wasn’t involved in day-to-day functioning of the DDCA.

“Well, if he says he wasn’t involved, then he should tell us who was involved. Assume you are the boss of a media organisation. Can you claim you don’t know what kind of activities four-five journalists under you are involved in? The blame lies on you.”

“Absolutely! Let me spell it out explicitly – the corruption in DDCA was because of Jaitley’s connivance,” he said, adding that nepotism in selection of players was also rampant.

“There were plenty of examples of overage boys playing in Under-14 or Under-19 teams.”

When asked if people could get into a junior team by paying officials, he said, “Absolutely. Why do you think Nikhil Chopra resigned as chairman of junior cricket, and so did Sunil Valson?”

Be said he wrote as many as 200 letters to Jaitley complaining about the functioning of DDCA but the BJP leader never replied.

“In fact, last July, I wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. I didn’t receive any reply.”

When asked what did Jaitley gain from allowing DDCA to become a cesspool of corruption, his reply was categorical.

“Tell me, what hasn’t he gained from it? On Thursday, December 18, he said he was president of DDCA till 2013. But even today, not a leaf stirs in DDCA without his permission, not even in BCCI. Who do you think has appointed Rajeev Shukla as chairman of the IPL [Indian Premier League] governing council? Do you know who are among the directors of Hockey India? The answer: Rajeev Shukla, Arun Jaitley and Narinder Batra. Could you tell me why? If there is nothing to gain from all this, then why do they indulge in so much of manipulation?”

Bedi said now the way the CBI raid was conducted (on Kejriwal’s Principal Secretary), Jaitley has ended up axing his own foot.

“It has backfired on him. I find it funny. But it was waiting to happen. The mess in cricket is simply enormous. This is happening in Delhi, mind you. Imagine what is happening in Hyderabad, Goa and such other places. The BCCI is registered under the Societies Act, but its affiliates – Punjab Cricket Association, Himachal Cricket Association, Haryana Cricket Association – are registered as companies.”

He specifically mentioned about a toilet in Feroz Shah Kotla stadium on which Rs 4.5 crore was allegedly spent.

“You should see it. The whole bloody place stinks. In his blog Arun Jaitely has written that the Commonwealth stadium was constructed for Rs 900 crore. Well, I’d want to tell him that the person (Suresh Kalmadi) who was responsible for constructing the stadium has many cases pending against him.”

Bedi said the way forward was to abolish “this company called DDCA”.

“It has to be registered under the Societies Act. You have to introduce secret ballot voting by the members or the clubs. They do it in Karnataka, Mumbai and Tamil Nadu. It is not that people don’t perpetuate their rule there. But they do care about cricket.”

He said he was was grateful to Kejriwal and company for their efforts in this regard.

“If the nation today has sat up and taken notice, it is only because Kejriwal has jumped into the fray… It has never happened before that the chief minister of Delhi would get so involved in finding out the happenings in DDCA.” (Image: Newstracklive)

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Is investing in Bitcoin safe? Get the basics first!

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India has not legitimized bitcoin, hence investment returns are totally based on demand i.e. you get your return only if there is another buyer in the market who is ready to pay you more for it. Currently the high-value of the digital currency owes to its high demand, but once people start selling, there is a possibility that rates will drastically fall. Pixabay
India has not legitimized bitcoin, hence investment returns are totally based on demand i.e. you get your return only if there is another buyer in the market who is ready to pay you more for it. Currently the high-value of the digital currency owes to its high demand, but once people start selling, there is a possibility that rates will drastically fall. Pixabay

With the fussy mania of Bitcoin going around and past, your eyes and ears, in the news and peer discussions, you must be having some basic questions about it: What is bitcoin? Is it legal? How can I get it? But most of all, you must be thinking, ‘Is investing in Bitcoin safe?’

Let’s find out!

Pluto Exchange has launched first app that will trade in bitcoins in India
Pluto Exchange has launched the first app that will trade in bitcoins in India. Wikimedia commons

ALSO READ: Bitcoin Worth Millions Stolen Days Before US Exchange Opens

Clearing the basics

  • Bitcoin is the first ever cryptocurrency that existed, it was invented in 2009 by Satoshi Nakamoto.
  • Cryptocurrencies are nothing but computer codes that have monetary value. No Government has any control over them.
  • Bitcoins ‘self-contain’ their value i.e. there’s no need for any bank to move or store the money.
  • Bitcoin currency is completely unregulated and decentralized.
  • Bitcoins are mined, and they can be mined by anyone in the general public who has a strong computer. However, only 21 billion of bitcoins in total can be mined. Currently, there are around 11 million in circulation.
  • Bitcoin has no underlying physical monetary base to support its value, and it is totally subject to its demand in the market.

What are the risks?

  • Low demand: India has not legitimized bitcoin, hence investment returns are totally based on demand i.e. you get your return only if there is another buyer in the market who is ready to pay you more for it. Currently, the high-value of the digital currency owes to its high demand, but once people start selling, there is a possibility that rates will drastically fall.
  • Unregulated: There is no bank or government tax agency that can track your money and its movement. Hence, it can become a tool for money laundering.
  • Irreversible transactions: There is no insurance protection of your bitcoin wallet i.e. if you lose your wallet’s hard drive data or even your password, your wallet’s content is gone forever.
There is no insurance protection of your bitcoin wallet i.e. if you lose your wallet’s hard drive data or even your password, your wallet’s content is gone forever. Pixabay
There is no insurance protection of your bitcoin wallet i.e. if you lose your wallet’s hard drive data or even your password, your wallet’s content is gone forever. Pixabay

ALSO READ: How can you trade in Bitcoin in India?

Status of Bitcoin in India

Finance minister Arun Jaitley highlighted in a statement that cryptocurrencies are not legal tender and have no regulatory permission or protection in the country.

However, there was no announcement banning or imposing any curbs on the same. The government panel is also awaiting a report on tackling cryptocurrencies in India, Jaitley said.

The government has recently cautioned investors to be wary of virtual currencies like bitcoin, saying they are like Ponzi schemes with no legal tender and protection.

“One of the features of cryptocurrency is that there is lack of dependence on the state. It functions with a degree of anonymity. It operates within a virtual community which is created and enjoys the trust of that virtual community,” Finance Minister Arun Jaitley told the Rajya Sabha.

“The government is examining the matter. A Committee under the chairmanship of the Economic Affairs Department Secretary is deliberating over all issues related to cryptocurrencies to propose specific actions to be taken… Instead of taking any knee-jerk action, let’s wait for the report of this committee.” Jaitley added