While releasing a second set of five questions for union minister Arun Jaitley, including one on his ‘relationship’ with Lokesh Sharma, Managing Director of 21st Century Media Pvt. Ltd., the Aam Aadmi Party on Thursday quoted a report claiming that when the Ferozeshah Kotla Stadium was being refurbished some years ago, when Jaitley was still DDCA president (1999-2013), a contractor had given a fake, agarbatti seller’s east Delhi address.
AAP’s second set of five questions, according to a press release, are:
- Mr. Jaitley, since when have you known Mr. Lokesh Sharma, Managing Director of 21st Century Media Private Limited, who is alleged to have benefited from the DDCA scam?
- Mr. Jaitley, please clarify whether Mr. Lokesh Sharma is your family friend or a business associate?
- Mr. Jaitley, did you or any of your family members/relations ever held any position in 21stCentury Media Private Limited or any company related to Mr. Lokesh Sharma? If yes, please give out details.
- Mr. Jaitley, did you or any of your family members/relations ever had any business relationship with Mr. Lokesh Sharma/21st Century Media Private Limited or any of the companies related to Lokesh Sharma?
- Mr. Jaitley, in 2006, you declared assets of only Rs 23.86 crore and in 2012 you declared assets of Rs 120 crores. What is the basis of six-fold increase in your assets in such short period? Which business model did you follow?
Lokesh Sharma, whose company once managed players like Rahul Dravid, Mohammed Kaif, and Irfan Pathan and his brother Yusuf, had many years ago entered into a contract with the DDCA for sale of corporate boxes at Ferozeshah Kotla Stadium. He also often gets contracts of in-stadia advertisement rights at the Kotla and at other venues, including Mohali.
AAP leader Ashutosh said that Jaitley would have to come clean on the allegations his party and BJP MP Kirti Azad are levelling against him.
“He will have to come clean on the issue of rampant corruption under him in the DDCA. Instead of responding to specific issues of corruption raised by the Aam Aadmi Party, Mr Jaitley is making his men send legal notices to us. We are not scared and will respond to the legal notice, but there are five more questions for Mr. Jaitley that he needs to answer instead of resorting to diversionary tactics,” said Ashutosh in a statement.
“As the AAP is digging deeper into the DDCA scam under Finance Minister Arun Jaitely, more and more stinking facts are coming out. The modus operandi is criminal in intent. The new revelations, that we are putting forth today, shock us and leave a question, which Mr. Jaitley has no option that to answer,” he said.
In the statement, the AAP claimed that the Ministry of Corporate Affairs Ministry, of which Jaitley is the minister, records show that three companies that had a contract with the DDCA under him had a common address.
“DDCA records show that three companies, namely Stream Marketing Private Limited, Ultimate IT Solutions Pvt. Ltd., and Advent Trading Private Limited, were paid lakhs of rupees for carrying out various works at Ferozeshah Kotla Ground by the DDCA,” it said.
“Records of Ministry of Corporate Affairs, a ministry under Mr. Arun Jaitley, show that these three companies have a common address in Delhi. And that is: U-23, Arvind Nagar, Delhi. This address is found in Ghonda area of East Delhi, and the verification reveals that three small shops are being run from the ground floor of this address; a dairy, a garment shop and a dispensary,” the party said.
“We want to highlight that this scam started in 2006, when Mr. Arun Jaitley was at the helm of affairs of the DDCA and went on till 2010, and Mr. Arun Jaitley was still heading the DDCA.”
The AAP statement further said, “Records show that one Naresh Chand Sharma is director of Stream Marketing Private Limited and the firm was paid lakhs of rupees for renovating Ferozeshah Kotla Ground. Same Naresh Chand Sharma owns the house at the address mentioned above, U-23, Arvind Nagar, Delhi, and stays on the first floor of the same house.”
The party said that when a prominent English daily contacted him, Naresh Chand Sharma told the reporter that he knew nothing about these companies and the payments made by the DDCA. He claimed he never carried out any work at Ferozeshah Kotla and that he had never been to the stadium.
“Mr. Jaitley has been consistently justifying spending Rs.114 crore for a contract which was tendered at one fifth of this cost, i.e. just Rs 24 crore, saying that he was proud of making a world-class stadium,” the statement read.
“We today expose that the expertise Mr. Jaitley hired to make his world-class stadium at five times the original estimate, the expertise of likes of Naresh Chand Sharma, who was paid lakhs of rupees through various companies, in which he has been shown as director,” it said.
“Mr. Naresh Chand Sharma, in fact, is an expert of selling agarbattis (incense sticks). Yes, he leaves his home early in the morning and door-to-door sells agarbattis. DDCA records show that this 64-year-old agarbatti-seller supplied carpets, panel and arena seating for Mr. Jaitley’s world-class Ferozeshah Kotla Stadium through another company called Nipun Tradeex Private Limited, in which he has been shown [as a] director,” the press release said.
“Mr. Jaitley, we appeal to you today that please shed your mask, resign as Finance Minister, confess to your misdeeds, apologise to the nation, and surrender to the law of the land. And please, for God’s sake, spare poor people like Naresh Chand Sharma, who were used as fronts for floating shell companies to siphon off DDCA money. Please answer who pocketed the money that was paid to Naresh Chand Sharma and others like him. Mr. Jaitley, you still have the opportunity to expose professional criminals, who in connivance with you carried out this fraud with professional precision.”