The dirt on Mr Clean
How the mighty fall!
Public memory is so short, people forget what happened only yesterday. In May this year, the report of the Comptroller and Auditor General (C&AG) the same office, though under a different officer, which brought down the UPA government by highlighting alleged telecom and coal scams of that Government, was placed in Parliament establishing the wrong doing of Union Roads and Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari in the infamous Purti scam.
But since Gadkari had already suffered enough humiliation and incarceration perhaps Prime Minister Narendra Modi, ignoring the Opposition clamour for his head, decided to look the other side. So much for the Prime Minister’s tall claim, “Na Khaoonga, na khane doonga.”
But seen from another perspective, Gadkari had already paid the price in late 2012-early 2013 when he had to abandon last minute plans to extend his stay in the BJP president’s office for another three year term, thanks to his media trial in Purti case. What was Purti case? That money and contracts had been awarded to fictitious companies and non-existent persons were supposedly its beneficiaries. Gadkari kept pleading he had abandoned Purti long before and had ceased to have any connection with Purti. But Yashwant Sinha would hear none of it and insisted on drawing Gadkari into the ring for an electoral bout. Ram Jethmalani, his son Mahesh, Thawarchand Gehlot, L K Advani, Narendra Modi, Arun Jaitley et al all bayed for Gadkari’s blood disregarding RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat attempt to order a truce by making Parivar’s trouble shooter S Gurumurthy pronounce Gadkari as ‘Not Guilty.’
How is former DDCA present Arun Jaitley’s crime of awarding contracts to his chosen few and using fictitious persons as supposed beneficiaries any different from Gadkari’s? By the way one of the names cropped up in all this is former journalist turned entrepreneur Lokesh Sharma, widely known in political circles as Jaitley’s Man for all Seasons.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had imputed that the CBI raids conducted at his office in Delhi secretariat were at the instance of Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitely and the CBI at Jaitley’s behest was actually looking for a file on an enquiry he had set up to probe the affairs of Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) which Jaitely chaired for 14 years till the runup to the 2014 general elections. On December 20, days after Jaitley refuted Kejriwal’s charges, BJP’s Darbhanga MP of three terms, and former Text cricketer, Kirti Azad jumped into the fray held a Press conference along with former Indian Cricket captain Bishen Singh Bedi where he released a video by Wikileaks4India and the Sun Star newspaper which purportedly show that 14 companies paid by DDCA for renovation works at Feroz Shah Kotla grounds do not exist on the addresses mentioned in the bills.
Jaitley’s party colleague released a statement on the occasion which stated, “Arun Jaitley conveniently avoided answering more than 200 letters and 500 messages about wrongdoing and swindling of DDCA money through his 14 years as president in DDCA but what has not come out from investigations is shocking… Several inquiries by ROC, SFIO, internal auditors, executive committee members, election commission appointed by sessions court and now a three-member committee of Delhi government etc have confirmed massive defalcations and round tripping of money and mismanagement,” his statement alleged.
Now this was exactly the charge against Gadkari. Gadkari was eventually asked to go and he did by resigning and paving way for Rajnath Singh to take over as the BJP president on January 22, 2013.
Jaitely remained the president of DDCA from 1999 to 2013, which included the period in which he was a minister in the second NDA government first as Minister of State and then elevated to cabinet level holding charge of the all-important Law and Justice ministry, presiding over the fate of the judicial officers of the country. And what happened during that period? The internal auditors who were predictably not particularly inclined to hang anyone in DDCA, least of all Jaitely, found financial irregularities in respect of payments by the DDCA to three companies, namely Stream Marketing Private Limited, Ultimate IT Solutions Private Limited and Advent Trading Private Limited. All three of them shared the same address, U-23, Arvind Nagar, New Delhi, which happened to be situated in the labyrinth of by lanes of East Delhi’s down market Ghonda area near Jheel Kuranja. The Indian Express reporters Vishal Menon and Sahil Malhotra tracked the address and discovered that there were three small shops at this address, one selling shudh desi ghee, the second offering ayurvedic mud therapy and the third selling some garments. The premises belonged to one Naresh Chand Sharma who sells agarbattis from door to door in East Delhi every day and lives on the first floor. He collects a paltry sum as rentals from these three shops on which his family subsists. Sharma had never heard of DDCA nor has he ever visited Feroze Shah Kotla grounds. This of course is one instance of blatant defalcation of funds and clear case of forgery and fraud, committed by the officials of DDCA under Jaitely and as Kirti Azad said he that kept crying, meeting Jiatleywriting letters to him and confronting him in DDCA meetings but he turned a deaf ear. Why? Without any pecuniary benefit? Obviously not. Kirit Azad and Bishen Singh Bedi don’t believe this nor would any fair judge.
That is why Azad had the gumption to dare Jaitely to slap a defamation suit against him as well. But Jaitely is dithering. Proves Azad has some solid ground under his feet while the sand seems to be shifting from under Jaitely’s