Affiliated to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), the Delhi District Cricket Association (DDCA) is the governing body of cricket activities in Delhi. Over the summer of 2015, the DDCA was making headlines for an alleged scam involving misappropriation of funds, infrastructural decisions, forgery and defrauding its members. Simply put, the DDCA was accused of blatant violations of laws and norms of corporate governance.
While this story involves many moving parts and people, we tell you the whole story through 6 key events:
1. AAP initiates an investigation into DDCA ‘Irregularities’
Cricketers and Delhi cricket stakeholders began expressing their displeasure with DDCA top-management because of mismanagement of funds. Back then, several known cricketer stars, including former-cricketer and BJP MP, Kirti Azad, jointly voiced their wishes to cleanse the system in which “corruption and nepotism” were rampant. Over time, this group demanded a Delhi police probe against DDCA and BCCI management. Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal formed a 3 member Sanghi Committee to investigate the matter. By November 2015, the Sanghi Committee submitted its report to the Delhi government which highlighted glaring “irregularities” in the affairs of the DDCA and allegedly even mentioned DDCA office-bearer and BJP member, Arun Jaitley (who headed the cricket body for 13 years until 2013). The Committee recommended that a Commission of Inquiry be set up to take the investigation forward.
2. CBI raids Arvind Kejriwal’s office, which he claims is a move by the BJP to protect its party members
Based off of a complaint from the Delhi Anti-Corruption Bureau, the CBI conducted a raid, on 22nd December 2015, of CM Arvind Kejriwal’s office. The complaint alleged that Rajender Kumar, CM Kejriwals’ Principal Secretary, was involved in suspicious dealings when he was with the departments of Education, IT and Health in the Delhi government.
As soon as the raid occurred, CM Kejriwal took to broadcast and social media to accuse the Modi-government of trying to grab the DDCA files which were kept in his office under the pretext of an investigation against his secretary. Following the raid, the Delhi CM was even locked out of his office for a day. CM Kejriwal blasted the BJP for misusing the CBI to protect their corrupt party members (ie: Arun Jaitley) and spoke angrily of the mistreatment of his government at the hands of the Centre.
3. Winter session disrupted over DDCA scam as Kejriwal demanded Jaitley’s resignation
The CBI raid triggered a massive political storm, uniting the Opposition against the NDA. AAP began demanding the resignation of former DDCA manager, Arun Jaitley. This quickly spilled over into the Lower House of Parliament. In fact, Lok Sabha proceedings were adjourned for nearly 20 minutes in the face of slogan-shouting by Congress members seeking Arun Jaitley’s resignation.
CM Kejriwal went so far as to demand Jaitley’s removal as the Union Finance Minister to enable a free and fair probe into the DDCA issue. Between the DDCA corruption accusations and CBI’s raid in CM Kejriwal’s office, the ongoing Parliamentary Winter Session experienced decreasing productivity.
4. BJP member, Kirti Azad, gets suspended for his anti party conduct
Former cricketer and BJP MP, Kirti Azad, had been alleging for nearly 8 years that the Delhi cricket body was corrupt. He had even demanded a time-bound SIT probe under the supervision of a High Court, and vowed to pursue the DDCA case till its final conclusion.
By the end of this year, the DDCA scam had simultaneously escalated into a political one – more a blame game between political rivalries than an honest investigation into fraudulent activity. Kirti Azad’s relentless criticism of the DDCA increasingly fueled CM Kejriwal’s demands to sack Jaitley. This led the BJP “troika” (Narendra Modi-Amit Shah-Arun Jaitley) to suspend Azad for “anti-party conduct” and “colluding with Opposition parties”.
5. Speculation of a rift within the BJP
The decision to suspend Kirti Azad unofficially changed the dynamic within the BJP. Kirti Azad became the Opposition’s “Man of the Match”, attracting anti-BJP support from outside the party. Even within the party, many hoped that this controversy would weaken the “troika”, making it difficult for the PM to continue privileging Jaitley.
Party seniors like L.K. Advani, Murli Maohar Joshi, Shanta Kumar and Yashwant Sinha reiterated their disappointment with the troika for making arbitrary party decisions, while Subramanium Swamy agreed to help Azad with any legal help during this near-defamation ordeal.
On the other hand, top leadership like PM Modi, Rajnath Singh, Sushil Kumar Modi, even Parliamentary Affairs Minister Venkaiah Naidu, has shown unwavering support for Jaitley calling all accusations against him “baseless”.
6. Defamation case against Kejriwal files by Jaitley
Moreover, Jaitley in 2015 had filed a criminal defamation complaint against Arvind Kejriwal and other AAP leaders like Raghav Chadha, Kumar Vishwas, Ashutosh, Sanjay Singh and Deepak Bajpai, over the comments made by them blaming Jaitley for corruption in DDCA. If found guilty the accused face punishment of up to 2 years in prison. Another civil defamation suit was also filed by Jaitley over the matter, before the Delhi High Court, seeking Rs. 10 crores in damages.
Famous lawyer and the ex-Law Minister of India, Ram Jethmalani, had come out vehemently in support of Kejriwal and represented him in court. However, a huge uproar was created after the AAP Government sent the legal bill for the case, amounting to a total of Rs 3.42 crore, to Lieutenant General Anil Baijal’s office for clearance.
Recently, after mounting criticism accusing the AAP Government of using tax payer’s money to defend Kejriwal in a private lawsuit, Jethmalani has claimed he will represent Kejriwal for free, saying, “Even now if the government doesn’t pay or he can’t pay, I will appear free. I will then treat him as one of my poor clients”.