Qaiser Mohammad Ali
The DDCA on Saturday filed two separate civil defamation cases, against Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal and former India cricketer and MP Kirti Azad, seeking Rs 2.5 crore damages from each one. They have been sued in the Delhi High Court for allegedly “bringing disrepute to the DDCA”.
Jantakareporter.com broke the story on January 6 and quoted from the DDCA’s ‘secret’ resolution by circulation that has sought to the required number of directors to sign the resolution to enable it to file the ‘civil’ and ‘criminal’ defamation suits against its former captain Azad and Kejriwal.
However, the DDCA, whose administration has been completely crippled and is financially in poor state, chose to avoid filing criminal defamation cases as was originally planned, as per a resolution by circulation that was moved by some ‘unknown person(s)’.
The DDCA, a company, required signatures of 14 members out of the 27 that constitute its executive committee. It is assumed that the required number of directors would have signed the resolution about which no one knows from where it originated as it bore no names and signatures of any DDCA office-bearer.
DDCA counsel Sangram Patnaik said that both Kejriwal and Azad have been sued for “bringing disrepute to the DDCA” with their recent statements against the association.
“I have filed a civil defamation case against Mr Kejriwal and Mr Azad in the Delhi High Court on behalf of the DDCA, seeking Rs 2.5 crore damages from each person. We have reasoned in the suit that they have brought disrepute to the DDCA without any rhyme and reason [by making adverse public statements],” Patnaik told jantakareporter.com.
The DDCA’s resolution by circulation had sought to “authorise” its ‘vice-president’ Chetan Chauhan and treasurer Ravinder Manchanda to “engage lawyers on behalf of DDCA”, file and contest the cases “individually on behalf of the DDCA”. The resolution also sought to give power to Chauhan and Manchanda to sign all “papers and documents” for these cases.
The DDCA civil suit, however, does not talk about financial irregularities, said Patnaik.
“We have not touched upon the issue of financial irregularities [in the DDCA about which Kejriwal and Azad have been vocal],” Patnaik said, while declining to provide more details, perhaps because notices are yet to be served on Kejriwal and Azad.
A source said that the financial irregularities aspect in the DDCA has deliberately been avoided in the civil suit as then the case “would have taken a different direction”. “We wanted to be on a sound footing, legally,” he said.
While Azad has been raising issues related to alleged financial irregularities in the DDCA for many years, Kejriwal took up the issue after some prominent cricketers like Bishan Sngh Bedi complained to him last year about the mismanagement in cricket’s apex body in Delhi.
Recently, Kejriwal, acting on their complaints, launched a one-man Commission of Inquiry into the DDCA affairs by appointing former Solicitor-General of India Gopal Subramanium for the task.
Although the Union Home Ministry has termed the Commission of Inquiry illegal, Kejriwal has declared that the inquiry would go on as is “was per law and Constitution of India”. “If LG or MHA or PMO aggrieved, they may approach Court. Only a court order can stop commission’s work,” he had tweeted on Friday.
Both Kejriwal and Azad have targeted union finance minister Arun Jaitley, who was DDCA president from 14 years, from 1999 to 2013.
Recently, after Kejriwal and Azad intensified attacks on DDCA/Jaitley, the senior BJP leader filed two separate court cases against Kejriwal. In Delhi’s Patiala House court, Jaitley filed a criminal defamation case against Kejriwal and others, while in Delhi High Court he filed a civil case for defamation and sought damages worth Rs.10 crore from the Delhi chief minister. Jaitley told the court that he had “not taken a single penny from the DDCA” during his tenure.
Jaitley, however, did not file a case against Azad, his fellow BJP member, though now suspended, and a member of Parliament.