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Criminal defamation case stands against Kejriwal: SC (Relevant for GS Mains Paper II)

The Supreme Court dismissed Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s plea to stay a criminal defamation trial against him based on a complaint by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.

The court declined to entertain the argument that a civil defamation case is already pending against Mr. Kejriwal in the same issue and a simultaneous criminal action cannot be pursued. The Bench said the evidence and proceedings in civil and criminal cases are completely different and should be considered as separate.

Background:
The Delhi High Court had already dismissed Mr. Kejriwal's plea on the same ground and had concluded that there was no “illegality” in continuing a criminal action simultaneously with a civil defamation suit. 
Besides a civil defamation suit, Mr. Jaitley had filed a criminal defamation complaint in a lower court, alleging Kejriwal and five AAP leaders had defamed him in the Delhi District Cricket Association (DDCA) controversy.

What is DDCA Controversy?
The corrupt and fraudulent activities that the DDCA was involved in over the course of the previous decade is being referred to as the DDCA scam. Since, Arun Jaitley was the President of the DDCA during this tenure, allegations are being made against him for everything seemed to have happened under his nose.

Some of the irregularities are as follows:-

1.    The highlight of the allegations is that the initial budget sanctioned for the reconstruction of the Feroz Shah Kotla stadium was Rs. 24 crore. But DDCA eventually paid Rs.114 crore. The extra 90 crore are still unaccounted for and no permission was taken from the Municipal Corporation.

2.    There are no records of tenders for most of the contracts issued by the DDCA. They were awarded to fake companies.

3.    Crores of rupees were spent by the DDCA on various companies without stating the reason for which it was being made. Furthermore, the prices of the tenders were inflated by the officials.

4.    There are allegations that DDCA has embezzled money through proxy firms. Five companies whose bills DDCA has cleared have the same address, same email IDs and same directors.

5.    Azad had also demanded a probe against Jaitley and other BCCI members for foreign exchange violations during the second season of IPL.

6.    Age violations: Age-related rules were not followed by the DDCA. The report quotes, 16-year-olds play in the under-14 category, 19-year-olds play under 16, and 23-year-olds play under 19. 

7.    Elections: The SFIO found that all of the body’s 4,294 votes were controlled by five people, and said that it was in violation of Section 150 of the Companies Act.

Delhi government investigation:
The Delhi government constituted a three-member panel to probe the allegations. According to Chetan Chauhan, the current president of the DDCA, Jaitley did not interfere in the day to day affairs of the association.

What is the DDCA?
The DDCA is a body that promotes cricket in Delhi and surrounding districts, and organizes cricket tournaments including T20 tournaments. However, it is not a society unlike other cricket bodies, but a private limited company. Around 300 of its 4,600 members are corporates.



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