NEW DELHI (TIP): The war which began after Arvind Kejriwal had tweeted that the CBI is raiding his office, quickly spilled over to name calling & #politicaljihad.
Kejriwal continued with the tweets and then a press conference accusing the Centre of foul play. It was met with an equally aggressive response from the BJP.
Arvind Kejriwal blamed Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the “raid”, calling him a “coward and a psychopath”.
“When Modi couldn’t handle me politically, he resorts to this cowardice,” he added.
By calling the prime minister of the country a “coward” and a “psychopath” for a CBI raid on his bureaucrat and labeling the finance minister a “liar”, politics in India has touched spectacularly new lows that may yet set a dubious “benchmark” for adversarial politics.
Officials from the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) have denied the allegations.
“It is not a raid on Arvind Kejriwal’s office, it was a raid on Rajender Kumar, principal secretary to the CM,” CBI spokesperson Devpreet Singh told BBC.
However, Mr. Kejriwal has accused the CBI of “lying”.
Meanwhile, the Central Bureau of Investigation clarified that it has not raided the office of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. Raids were carried out in the office of CM’s Principal Secretary Rajender Kumar, top CBI sources told media.
After preliminary investigation, CBI found prima facie evidence against Kumar. After which CBI conducted several raid at 14 other locations in Delhi and Uttar Pradesh related to Rajender Kumar. Papers of three immovable properties along with cash Rs 2.4 lakh have been recovered in raid conducted at his house. Another Rs 10.5 lakh was recovered from Rajendra’s close aide and co-accused in the case, GK Nanda, GM Telecommunications Consultants India Limited (TCIL).
The reported raid came days after a top bureaucrat working for the Delhi government was arrested red-handed for taking bribe.
AAP Counter Claim
Kejriwal claimed that CBI came for DDCA files and was working on behest of Arun Jaitley, who was the chairman of DDCA at the time of corruption scandal.
Referring to the October 9 sacking of Food Minister Asim Ahmed Khan, he said: “I am the only CM who dismissed, on my own, a minister and a senior officer on charges of corruption and handed their cases to the CBI”.
“If they were looking for proof of corruption, they should be looking for the concerned files in those departments,” added Kejriwal while coming in support of his principal secretary Rajender Kumar.
A government-appointed panel had recently recommended that the BCCI suspend DDCA over financial irregularities and corruption.
Aftermath of the raid: The biggest war of words takes off
The big guns from the AAP and BJP continue to trade fire amid a raging war of words between the two parties over alleged corruption in Delhi’s cricket association which, the city’s ruling party claims, deepened under finance minister Arun Jaitley’s watch.
The Delhi unit BJP on Tuesday, December 15, came down heavily on chief minister Arvind Kejriwal over his remarks on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and threatened to launch a “pol khol” campaign to expose “corruption” of the AAP government.
“The BJP workers will no longer tolerate the language used by Mr Kejriwal against the PM Narendra Modi. We will launch a pol khol (expose) campaign to show to the people how his party is involved in corruption and that Secretariat has become a den of corruption,” Delhi BJP president Satish Upadhyay said.
Leader of the Opposition in Delhi Assembly Vijender Gupta accused Mr Kejriwal of “defending” a “corrupt” officer.
“The CBI often register cases and conducts raids against corrupt in the country, but it is first time that a chief minister has come forward to save a corrupt officer.”
Referring to rule of law, he alleged that some people were trying to be above the law while people of Delhi were feeling “betrayed” in this “queer situation”.
The war of words over accusation against Finance Minister Arun Jaitley of his involvement in “glaring irregularities” in Delhi District Cricket Association (DDCA) intensified on Thursday, December 17, with the BJP coming all out in his defence, describing him as a man of “impeccable” political record.
The party described the accusations by Delhi’s AAP government as “blasphemous and preposterous campaign bordering on political hysteria”.
“The BJP resolutely stands behind Arun Jaitley and publicly condemns the malicious intent of the AAP to deflect public attention from a corrupt officer working with (Delhi Chief Minister) Arvind Kejriwal,” Union Minister for Human Resource Development Smriti Irani told reporters at a press conference.
She also made a comparison between Jaitley and Kejriwal in terms of their contributions so far, saying the Finance Minister had written his name in “golden letters in history” with his “dedication and work”.
She said a “blasphemous and preposterous” campaign bordering on political hysteria was being created by the AAP to divert the public attention from a “corrupt officer”. Kejriwal is failing the anti-corruption movement from which he had shot to limelight by making efforts to protect a “corrupt officer”, she added.
Smriti Irani pointed out that the 2013 SFIO probe found no evidence against Jaitley while looking into alleged irregularities in Delhi’s cricket body that he headed for over a decade.
In a Facebook post, the finance minister struck back at AAP leaders for making allegations of corruption in the Delhi and District Cricket Association following a CBI raid at the office of chief minister Kejriwal’s principal secretary, saying “does free speech include the right to speak only falsehood.”
Jaitley also attacked the Delhi chief minister, saying it was a propaganda technique of Kejriwal to deflect attention when he himself was in the “dock”, as both the AAP and Congress intensified their demand for his resignation from the Union cabinet.
“Delhi CM Kejriwal seems to believe in untruth and defamation, delivered in language that borders on hysteria. No personal allegation was ever made against me nor did I ever feel the need of contradicting it,” he wrote. “Finding himself acting as a shield to cover an officer under investigation, the Delhi Chief Minister has attempted to focus attention on me.”
Former cricketer Chetan Chauhan, who now heads the cricket body, rejected the AAP’s charges and issued a point-by-point rebuttal, saying they had nothing to hide.
“We want complete transparency. All allegations are baseless. We have spent money like misers,” Chauhan told reporters. “No embezzlement took place during Jaitley’s tenure. You can check SFIO report. There were only procedural lapses and we have compounded (paid fine) for those lapses.”
Congress & its allies join the Fun
The political feuding over the CBI raid, became fiercer on Wednesday, December 16, with Congress leaping into the fray and demanding the resignation of finance minister Arun Jaitley for alleged irregularities at the Delhi and Districts Cricket Association (DDCA).
Congress demanded a joint parliamentary committee (JPC) to probe the matter and Jaitley’s resignation, the principal opposition party did not raise the issue inside or outside Parliament.
The party mounted a renewed attack on Jaitley in a series of tweets, echoing the AAP allegations that corporate boxes at Delhi’s Feroz Shah Kotla cricket ground were given out on lease to companies without following rules.
Trinamool Congress, too, joined, saying it was the first to ask for a JPC on DDCA. “Now, media says that Congress and AAP have demanded the same. We welcome that,” the party said.