Qaiser Mohammad Ali
The DDCA has secretly moved a resolution by circulation for its directors’ approval to file civil defamation cases against Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal and suspended BJP MP Kirti Azad, seeking damages of Rs.2.50 crore from each person, besides separate criminal cases against the two politicians.
Several sources also confirmed that the resolution seeks to “authorise” the association ‘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”. They also informed that the resolution seeks to give power to Chauhan and Manchanda to sign all “papers and documents” for these cases.
When contacted, Chauhan said that the DDCA was in the process of filing the cases.
“Yes, we have to file cases against them. The matter is with our legal experts, advocates. So, they are on the job,” Chauhan told jantakareporter.com.
Asked by when the case could be filed, Chauhan said, “When the case would be ready we would file it.”
Both Kejriwal, whose Aam Aadmi Party came to power in Delhi in February last year with a landslide victory by stunning the BJP, and former Delhi captain Kirti Azad have raised issues related to alleged corruption in the DDCA.
An aggrieved Jaitley then filed two court cases. In Delhi’s Patiala House court, the union minister filed a criminal defamation case against Kejriwal and others, while in Delhi High Court he has 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, from 1999 to 2013.
The latest DDCA resolution strangely does not mention the reasons for which the DDCA is seeking to file the defamation cases against Kejriwal and Azad, said sources. To add to the mystery of the resolution, they said, no one knows who has moved it as the three-page document bears no name and signature of the person who circulated it.
The DDCA executive committee comprises 27 members (including the three government nominees), and it requires 14 members to sign to approve a resolution by circulation.
Assuming the majority DDCA directors sign the resolution, a question would arise as to how the association would foot the legal bill as it is financially in a very poor shape at the moment. But a source said the “money would not be a problem” for the DDCA.
Interestingly, by Wednesday evening, some directors have not been approached with the latest resolution, either by circulation on email or by post or by any other means, said the source.
“As per the printed date on the three-page resolution, it was moved on December 31. But, unlike two similar secret ‘resolutions by circulation’ moved in November, when they were moved by DDCA general secretary Anil Khanna, this one bears no names as to who has circulated this one,” a source told jantakareporter.com.
When asked specifically how he would authenticate the resolution, the source said, “That’s the mystery. In the absence of no names it creates a doubt.”
No specific reason is given for moving the resolution. But Chauhan had said a press conference a few days ago that the DDCA would explore all remedies in the law to take legal action against “whoever” would bring the DDCA to disrepute.
In the document, the only reason mentioned as the “background” of the resolution is “to run the affairs of the company [DDCA is Section 25 company] in accordance and in conformity with the wishes of the esteemed members and in lawful manner”.
According to a source, the first agenda of the resolution reads thus, “Resolved that DDCA to file a civil defamation case in Delhi on Mr Arvind Kejriwal and Mr Kirti Azad for a value of Rs 2.50 crores each and also file criminal defamation case in Delhi on Mr Arvind Kejriwal and Mr Kirti Azad. Further resolved [that] Mr Chetan Chauhan vice-president and Mr Ravinder Manchanda, treasurer of DDCA, are authorised to engage lawyers on behalf of DDCA, file and contest the above defamation cases individually on behalf of DDCA for defamation and sign all documents and affidavits etc. required for the above cases and any other case that may come up in future by or against DDCA.”
When last heard on Wednesday, close to half of the 27 DDCA directors are said to have signed the resolution.
APPOINTMENT OF AUDITORS FOR 2014-15
The second agenda in the resolution is to ‘appoint’ auditors, surprisingly, for 2014-15, the financial year that is already over. This agenda adds to the already messy affair of appointing auditors – both internal and statutory ones (as reported by jantakareporter.com on January 2).
Interestingly, Azad has raised questions against the chartered accountants, MSA & Associates, that the resolution seeks to appoint.
Giving the background for the need to appoint MSA & Associates, the source quoted the resolution thus, “The chairman informed the member of the executive committee that M/s MSA & Associates, chartered accountants tenure expires at the conclusion of the annual general meeting to be held for the year ending 31st March 2014. However, as the AGM could not be held as per the stay order of the Hon’ble Court of Delhi, hence M/s MSA & Associates, chartered accountants, shall continue as the statutory auditors of the company for the financial year 2014-15 also. The directors noted that M/s MSA & Associates, chartered accountants, were eligible for appointment as the auditors of the company for the financial year 2014-15. The following resolution was passed for the purpose.”
The resolution further read, “Resolved that M/s MSA & Associates, chartered accountants, shall continue as the statutory auditors of the company for the financial year 2014-15, till the conclusion of the AGM as and when held.”
The resolution continued, “Resolved further that for the purpose of giving effect to the aforesaid resolutions, to the extent required by the DDCA in such form and in such manner and on such terms and conditions as the Board of Directors of the company i.e. the executive committee of the DDCA be and hereby authorised to take all such steps and actions and give such directions as may be in its absolute discretion deemed necessary and settle any question that may arise in this regard, in the interest of the company.”
While by Wednesday evening it was not clear if the majority of 27 DDCA directors had signed the resolution, another view was floating within the association, said another source.
He said there is a point of view that a legal notice should be sent to Kejriwal first, asking him to “withdraw” the “adverse comments” that he has made against the DDCA and Jaitley.
“At the same time, some people in the DDCA were of the opinion that then the case would not to pursue vigorously,” he said.
The source also said the “brain” behind the resolution is a “guiding force” who may not be a part of the DDCA, though he/she might be a member of the association.