PM Modi gives Jaitley clean chit in cricket board case

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his first comment on the latest crisis to hit his government, told Bharatiya Janata Party lawmakers this morning that finance minister Arun Jaitley would "come through with flying colours" from the Delhi cricket board controversy. 

"Arun Jaitley will come through with flying colours in the same manner as L K Advani did in Hawala case," the prime minister said at a weekly meeting of the BJP Parliamentary Party.

Jaitley has dragged leaders of the Aam Aadmi Party, including Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, to court over allegations against him of corruption in the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) which he headed for 13 years.

But it is BJP lawmaker Kirti Azad's focused attack on Jaitley that has scripted the bigger crisis for the ruling party and the government it leads. Azad has stopped just short of naming the finance minister in his allegations of corruption in the DDCA and has also challenged him publicly to sue him too.

Though many BJP ministers have made public statements in support of Jaitley, a slow response from the topmost leadership has raised eyebrows. While PM Modi's first comment today came six days after AAP first made its allegations, BJP chief Amit Shah defended Jaitley only last night.

"Arun Jaitley has lived his public life with certain principles and the nation knows that the entire BJP stands behind him," said Shah.

Shah's defence came many hours after Kirti Azad obliquely but unmistakably targeted Jaitley on the floor of parliament, unprecedented in BJP history.

None of the BJP's seniors present in the Lok Sabha intervened or tried to stop Azad.

Shah had met Kirti Azad twice on Friday and conveyed that going public with more charges against Jaitley would hurt the party and the government, source said. But there has been no public remonstration.