More Skeletons Tumble out of The DDCA closet

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Dismissing Jaitley’s claim of acting like a “non-executive president”, Azad says, “There is a clear mention of one president, three vice presidents, one general secretary, one club secretary, eight joint secretaries etc in the Memorandum of Association and Article of Association of the DDCA. Where on earth do we have a nonexecutive president?”

Another glaring issue is the cost of construction of Feroz Shah Kotla stadium. The tender for the construction was given to Engineering Projects India Limited (EPIL ), a public sector undertaking, for Rs 24 crore. However, by the time construction and renovation work got over DDCA ended up paying Rs 114 crore. In an act of desperation, Jaitley drew a false graph in the Parliament. He said that the DDCA gave Delhi a stadium with 43,000 seating capacity for just Rs 114 crore, while the Congress during the Commonwealth Games spent Rs 600 and Rs 900 crore to construct stadiums whose capacities are barely in hundreds.

Lodha committee appointed by the Supreme Court to restructure the functioning of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) had suggested several reforms. One was to do away with the proxy voting. This is something if implemented can change the fate of the DDCA forever.

The 2013 DDCA election is a classic case of gross exploitation. Former India spinner Bishan Singh Bedi was defeated by SP Bansal with a margin of 3,148 votes. Bansal had managed to get over 3,400 proxy votes out of 4,294 by as early as 10 in the morning. Bansal was later sidelined from his post as the internal committee report found enough evidence of financial bungling against him.

Under the Companies Act, DDCA members, like shareholders of a company, can either cast their votes directly or they can appoint a proxy on their behalf. It is believed that lobbies at the association over the years have been faking ‘members’, whose votes are exploited at the time of election.

“We at National Capital Territory (NCT) Cricket Association tried our best to seek permission from Ministry of Corporate Affairs to allow us under Section 399 (4), to move an application to seek removal of proxies in the DDCA… Even a fee of Rs 2,000, deposited as per the rules, also went down the drain as the government, surprisingly, decided not to allow us to apply for the abolition of the proxy system,” says NCT secretary Sameer Bahadur.

“This proxy system has actually been the root cause of all manipulation by a set of office bearers who have steered the DDCA for nearly four decades,” he adds.

Out of the 110 member clubs with the DDCA, 30 are institutional while the rest are private. The association gives subsidy only to private clubs. However, the way Syndicate Bank Cricket Club (SCC), an institutional club, was converted to a private club created quite a ruckus. The AAP alleged that the DDCA officials colluded with Bhola Shanker, an employee of Syndicate Bank, to execute the devious act. Pramod Jain, secretary of Sarojini Nagar Gymkhana Club, was the one who had filed a complaint on the matter.

According to sources, an account was opened in another branch of Syndicate Bank in which the club’s subsidy money was transferred and later withdrawn by the alleged perpetrator. However, Chetan Chauhan the working president of the association in a news conference said that the SCC has been restored as an institutional club.

Interestingly, it is believed that a private club affiliated with DDCA is worth anything between Rs 1-1.25 crore. The member clubs of the DDCA vote in the election of Sports Working Committee (SWC) office bearers. The influence of private clubs in the DDCA is huge as they bring in the deciding votes. Interestingly, the election commissioner, who was appointed by a Delhi court to hold the SWC election last year, in his report clearly observed that, “Private cricket academies are being run under the umbrella of DDCA ; there is no scope for the students of schools and colleges to participate in the league matches of DDCA.”

With private clubs the problem of age fudging also crops up. It is noted in the Delhi government’s report on the DDCA that Kirti Azad had filed an FIR against the alleged age-fudging by cricketers of Vidya Jain Public School in under 14 and 16 categories. The school which runs Vidya Jain Cricket Academy (VJCA), tinkers with the date of birth certificates of overage players so as to make them eligible to play in younger categories. Such a disturbing trend blocks the opportunity of the genuinely talented cricketers.

The Delhi government report further reads, “It is pertinent to note here that this is a case in which not only the office-bearers of the DDCA but the DDCA itself is under the purview of investigation.” Another thing to be noted is that, Vinod Tihara, an elected convener of SWC, is listed as the patron on VJCA’s website and is also the joint secretary of the school. In such a situation his credentials of being fair comes under scanner as it is a clear case of conflict of interest.

“There is no system in place for selection of players. They send a word of mouth to cricket academies in Delhi for a selection camp,” says Pramod Jain. “A list of a probable 30 is made. Most of the players make it to the team even without medical certificates,” says Pramod Jain. By quoting India Test captain Virat Kohli, Jain says, “Virat Kohli has exposed them like anything. The India (Test) captain has himself said that he was also asked to pay up (in the past). This puts a question mark on the selection process.”

“I have full faith in the CBI” Azad tells Tehelka. “So far, all violations of civil nature have been established. The fact that several office bearers have admitted to the lapses will make it easier for the CBI to establish criminality in the case.”

Despite Centre declaring the AAP’s commission of inquiry as invalid, the party is unwilling to give up. Jaitley’s claim that all is fine at the DDCA seems to be a farce. When players, curators and support staff await their pending salaries for months and all infamous things loom large on the DDCA how can anyone say that all is well.

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