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Amit Shah erms all the allegations levelled by AAP against Jaitley as ‘baseless and far from truth’

BJP member Kirti Azad speaks in the Lok Sabha on Monday

PTI
Union finance minister Arun Jaitley versus BJP MP Kirti Azad battle over financial irregularities in DDCA resonated on the floor of Lok Sabha on Monday. While the Congress was demanding his resignation, as Jaitley dubbed the charges against him as baseless, Azad, who was sitting in the treasury benches, demanded a time bound SIT-monitored CBI probe into his allegations.A day after Azad held a press conference on the DDCA issue, he raised the issue in the House, again stopping short of naming Jaitley, who had headed the DDCA for 13 years.”Modi government is against corruption. That is why CBI is probing DDCA’s activities between 2008 and 2013. Everybody knows who the president was during this time,”Azad said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Azad was allowed to speak without interruptions. Earlier in the day, Azad tweeted challenging Jaitley to file defamation against him too.”hello dear Arun Jaitely, hampar defemation file kar rahe ho na? Please karo na Don’t take injunction, don’t gag freedom of speech,”Azad tweeted.By Monday evening BJP president Amit Shah came to the finance minister’s defence saying the entire party was behind him and will not allow any “conspiracy” to defame him. “AAP was trying to tarnish Jaitley’s exemplary record… Attack on him will harm AAP in the long run,” he said.In a statement, Shah termed all the allegations levelled by AAP against Jaitley as “baseless and far from truth” and said his public life was like an open book dedicated to the country.The party chief’s statement came after Azad took on the minister in Parliament giving ammunition to the Opposition, an unprecedented act by a treasury bench member. Azad had met Shah two days before he held the press conference on Sunday. However, he went ahead with his plans.Union ministers have been coming to Jaitley’s defence, but on the question on whether action would be taken against Azad, they said it was for the party president to take a call. In a show of support for him, five union ministers– JP Nadda, Dharmendra Pradhan, Smriti Irani, Piyush Goel and Rajyavardhan Rathore– accompanied him to Patiala House Courts to file a statement in a criminal defamation case against AAP leaders.”Jaitley does not need a certificate from anyone. He has impeccable character,”parliamentary affairs minister Venkaiah Naidu said.However, the DDCA issue could bring to the fore fissures in the party. The attack from within the BJP comes close on the heels of the castigation of the leadership by party veterans in the wake of the Bihar debacle.In the House, Congress members shouted slogans demanding Jaitley’s resignation. “The charges (against me) are baseless and wrong. This is all I have to say,” Jaitley said.While reeling out details of the construction of the Ferozeshah Kotla stadium in Delhi, he said the Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) report did not find any fault with the expenditure and “accepted” the cost incurred.Congress’s KC Venugopal, who raised the issue, claimed that there were “gross irregularities” in DDCA when Jaitley headed it and alleged his involvement and said Azad’s press conference gave “solid evidence of irregularities” in DDCA. He said the construction work at Ferozshah Kotla had cost Rs 114 cr against the estimate of Rs 24 cr and alleged that it was forced escalation and that there was no record of tender in many cases.”He (Jaitley) is also involved in the scam. We demand a JPC probe and resignation of Jaitley,” he said.Jaitley said that it cost Rs 114 cr to build Kotla stadium, which was merely a “field” prior to the construction, and hit out at the Congress, saying the Nehru stadium was renovated at a cost of Rs 900 cr and the Dhyanchand stadium for Rs 600 cr. The Kotla stadium has a seating capacity of 42000, the Dhyanchad staidum steats only 14000 people.At one point when the Congress members started protesting, Jaitley angrily said “sit down…. You should have courage to listen.” Congress staged a walkout, as the treasury benches booed it. Attack from within the party The DDCA issue could bring to the fore fissures in the party. The attack from within the BJP comes close on the heels of the castigation of the leadership by party veterans in the wake of the Bihar debacle. In the House, Congress members shouted slogans demanding Jaitley’s resignation. “The charges (against me) are baseless and wrong. This is all I have to say,”Jaitley said. Party president backs JaitleyOn Monday evening BJP president Amit Shah came to the finance minister’s defence saying the entire party was behind him and will not allow any “conspiracy” to defame him. “AAP was trying to tarnish Jaitley’s exemplary record… Attack on him will harm AAP in the long run,” he said. The party chief’s statement came after Azad took on the minister in Parliament giving ammunition to the Opposition, an unprecedented act by a treasury bench member. Azad had met Shah two days before he held the press conference on Sunday. However, he went ahead with his plans.

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Jaitley vs Azad plays out in Lok Sabha, as Congress guns for minister over DDCA row