Arun Jaitley: Cricket manager who fielded controversies

Arun Jaitley was one of the longest-serving presidents of the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA).  However, his legacy of 13 years received more criticism than compliments.

Jaitley, who was at the helm of the DDCA from 1999 to 2013, was credited by many for bringing better facilities, including a world-class stadium, to Delhi cricket. Jaitley used his stature to bring resources to the capital city-be it renovating Feroz Shah Kotla stadium or installing the floodlights. His other ambitious projects of indoor complex and residential complex, though, couldn’t be fulfilled.

He was known to be a keen follower of cricket and liked being updated about the fresh talents. He took a special interest in the cricketers’ performances across various age groups. While he kept a low profile, DDCA’s presence increased in the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) during his tenure.

Read More: RIP Arun Jaitley | Former finance minister passes away at 66

However, his tenure was marred with controversies during which Feroz Shah Kotla stadium was banned for a year, former and current cricketers spoke out against the selection procedures and the administration. 

In 2012, the Serious Fraud Investigation Office, which functions under the Ministry of Corporate Affairs, launched an investigation and found several instances of alleged financial irregularities in the transactions of the DDCA between 2006 and 2012. These included misappropriation of funds, non-payment of taxes, not following the tendering route, hiring of tainted auditors and irregularities in the management of membership, ticketing and others.

Later, former cricketers Bishan Bedi and BJP MP Kirti Azad made corruption allegations against Jaitley. In 2016, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his party leaders attacked Jaitley over irregularities and financial misconduct during his tenure. Jaitley, who went on to assume the post of Union finance minister, denied the allegations.

Jaitley had admirers too among DDCA circles, be it his successor Chetan Chauhan or former India openers Gautam Gambhir and Virender Sehwag. In fact, both Gambhir and Sehwag came out in defence of Jaitley last year over the corruption charges. Sehwag even lauded Jaitley for being available for players during difficult times. This recognition should somewhat soothe Jaitley’s chequered legacy as a cricket administrator.

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