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DDCA inquiry faced pressure to name a VIP: Panel chief

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New Delhi :Delhi government-appointed DDCA probe panel chief Chetan Sanghi has informed the Centre that he was under “pressure” from various “stakeholders” for naming some individuals, including a “certain VIP”, in his report on the affairs of the cricket body.

Sanghi, a Principal Secretary in the Vigilance Department, who is now on leave, has written about the alleged pressure in a letter to Union Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi.

Leader of Opposition in the Delhi Assembly Vijender Gupta alleged that lawyer Rahul Mehra, a member of the probe panel, had put pressure on Sanghi to name Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who has been accused by AAP of allowing wrongdoings to happen under his watch as DDCA chief from 1999-2013.

When contacted, Mehra, a senior standing counsel with Delhi government, strongly denied the charges, calling the allegations of both Gupta and Sanghi baseless and politically motivated.

Sanghi had submitted the report to the AAP government in November last year.

Based on recommendations of the Sanghi panel, the AAP government had last month set up an inquiry commission to investigate the alleged irregularities in DDCA, including the period from 1999-2013 when Union Finance MInister Arun Jaitley headed it.

“There was considerable emphasis on naming who were at fault and in particular a certain VIP. There was a lot of pressure from various stakeholders since the subject was very controversial,” Sanghi wrote in a letter to Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi.

Since the “formal mandate was not to do so”, a very tight rope walk was taken and the short time frame of three days also did not particularly help matters, he added.

Sanghi, who headed the three-member probe committee, said there was a “lot of pressure from various stakeholders” since the subject was very controversial and there were a lot of yesteryear cricket luminaries who were very vocal about the alleged mismanagement in DDCA.

This assumes significance in light of BJP’s demand for apology from Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal for dragging Jaitley’s name into the row when his own government panel did not name any individual.

In his letter to Mehrishi dated December 28, 2015 Sanghi has also requested for Central deputation and closing cases initiated against him by the Anti-Corruption Branch (ACB).

“Now that it has since received the requisite information from DSIIDC, it can easily close the investigation because there is no case that can be made out,” the letter said.

Sanghi, who was Commissioner, Industries, also headed DSIIDC in that capacity when some irregularities allegedly took place there.

On allegations by Gupta and Sanghi, Mehra said there was absolutely no pressure on the panel.

“Various stakeholders including a host of former cricketers gave representations to us to which we applied our mind. In case of pressure, if any, take the report and show me where did we mention any name.

“If naming was the objective, one could have just handpicked and formed a one-member committee. It was just a collation of existing reports into DDCA affairs. Ironically BJP has been piggybacking on the same report demanding Kejirwal’s apology as it does not name anyone.

“Why did Sanghi wait till FIRs were filed against him to come up with such allegations?” he asked.

Transport Minister Gopal Rai said there is “no truth in these allegations” and if anyone has any complaints there is a panel which they can approach.

“There is a Commission which has been constituted to probe allegations and counter allegations related to DDCA. It is the responsibility of the Gopal Subramanium-headed DDCA panel to probe all the aspects in detail and come out with a report,” Rai said.

Asked whether it was a setback for the AAP government, Rai said it has now “got used to such things”.

“Central government has been consistently creating such pressures and influences. Creating hurdles is their job and doing work is our duty,” he said.

Sanghi requested Mehrishi to waive the debarment on him, imposed for his not joining the Women and Child Development Ministry in 2014 on time, which is still preventing him from joining the Union government.

Sanghi said he could not join the WCD Ministry since no reliever was posted by the MHA at that time and that the government of Puducherry had wanted him “to see through the Budget session up to March 2015”.

“My request is to kindly waive this debarment since I was not at fault and assign me to a posting on Central Deputation,” he said.

PTI

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