Qaiser Mohammad Ali
There is a possibility that Arvind Kejriwal’s Delhi government and BCCI would jointly organise the next month’s fourth and final India-South Africa Test of the Gandhi-Mandela Trophy, without involving DDCA at all.
This probability increased on Friday after the Kejriwal-appointed three-member committee, tasked to probe “serious financial irregularities” in the DDCA, reached Nagpur in the evening to hold a meeting with BCCI president Shashank Manohar on Saturday to explore the possibility of jointly organising the Test, starting on 3 December.
While confirming Friday’s development, sources in the Delhi government, the BCCI and the DDCA said that the outcome of the meeting could be decisive so far the Test is concerned.
“On Friday evening, Delhi government’s committee reached Nagpur, where Manohar is based. The committee members and Manohar are scheduled to meet on Saturday morning to see if they can jointly organise the Test,” sources told JantaKaReporter.com.
“We would know the broad contours of the match most probably by tomorrow evening, if not in the afternoon itself. Whatever is the outcome of the meeting, one thing is looking increasingly clear: the DDCA would not be involved,” they said.
The sources further explained, “The Delhi government has told Manohar clearly that it wouldn’t like to involve DDCA in the match, if it were to give the mandatory clearances to organise the match. It has also conveyed to Manohar that if the BCCI wants to join hands with it then the Board is welcome to jointly organise the match. We’ll come to know the drift of the issue by tomorrow.”
The fourth Test is seemingly in jeopardy as the Delhi government wants the DDCA to pay up Rs 24.46 crore tax demand, including penalty, for entertainment tax that has not been paid for several years – an issue that DDCA vice-president Chetan Chauhan is contesting.
It is mandatory for the DDCA to secure no objection certificates from not only the entertainment tax department, but also from other government agencies, like the municipal corporation, fire service, and disaster management group, that are involved in organising international matches at the Ferozeshah Kotla Stadium.
DDCA, due to rampant cricketing and non-cricketing corruption and financial mismanagement over the years, is currently crippled, in all senses of the term. At present, it only has around Rs 13,000 in hand. Further, DDCA’s legitimate share from the BCCI, estimated to be over Rs 50 crore, has been held back by the Board as the association has not submitted the balance sheets and accounts for 2013-14 and 2014-15 due to some of its directors’ refusal to sign them as charges of corruption have been levelled against some office-bearers.
“Now, the Delhi government has seemingly decided that if the match has to be played in Delhi the DDCA would not be involved. The three-member is going to take up the same line when it meets Manohar tomorrow,” said a source.
“It’s quite obvious why the Delhi government would not like to involve the DDCA. After all Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party registered the unexpected landslide win in the assembly elections on the anti-corruption plank, and it can’t be seen aiding a corrupt entity like the DDCA.”
Former India player Kirti Azad, who has been persistently spearheading the crusade against corruption in the DDCA for a few years along with Bishan Singh Bedi, Surinder Khanna and others, welcomed the prospect of Delhi government and the BCCI jointly organising the match, starting on 3 December.
“You can’t deprive Delhi of a Test match. If at all it is deprived, it’ll be the DDCA to blame. They hoodwink the High Court every year so far paying taxes are concerned. I will be very happy is the match is organised in Delhi,” Azad told JantaKaReporter.com. “I will feel very sorry if the match has to go to someone else, if at all. But you have no other option.”
Azad said if the DDCA is eventually asked to layoff it won’t be the first instance.
“In 1982, after the CBI raided the DDCA/Kotla on some corruption issue, the BCCI formed a committee under PM Rungta [now no more] that organised a Test against England,” he said.
Before catching the plane to Nagpur, the three-member committee, headed by Chetan B. Sanghi, Principal Secretary PWD, Urban Development & Vigilance, met several DDCA directors whom it has summoned.
DDCA treasurer Ravinder Manchanda said that almost half of the executive committee members went to meet the Sanghi committee – but not without drama, something that is so familiar with the DDCA.
“Eleven of the  directors met the committee in the afternoon. The impression from the meeting we got was that the Delhi government was in favour of hosting the match in Delhi,” Manchanda told JantaKaReporter.com, without elaborating.
When asked if the committee has asked the DDCA to start preparation for the Test, Manchanda said, “No, they did not tell us to prepare. But we are very optimistic.”
Manchanda, who had said on Thursday he was expecting a partial payment of around Rs.10 crore from the BCCI for hosting the Test, informed that the DDCA had not received the money so far.
The BCCI has set 17 November as deadline for the DDCA to inform it whether or not it was in a position to stage the Test match.
On being asked when he expects to hear the final word from the Delhi government on granting the various no objection certificates, Manchanda said, “By tomorrow evening we would know.”
A couple of hours before the 11 directors met the Sanghi panel, two DDCA directors who did not accompany Manchanda met the committee separately. Manchanda, however, reasoned that due to Bhai Dooj festival on Friday the other 13 DDCA directors couldn’t make it to the meeting.
“Sunil Jain, who headed a fact finding committee after a spate of cases of financial embezzlement came to the fore some time ago, apparently submitted a copy of that report to the committee,” said a source. “Then DDCA director Dinesh Saini along with NC Bakshi, an association member, met the committee to put forth their point of view. After these two meetings, the 11 directors, including Manchanda and Chetan Chauhan met.”
The Delhi match has assumed significance as the four-Test series is being played for the Mahatma Gandhi-Nelson Mandela Trophy, with which the BJP-led national government is also seen to be involved.
Sources say that PM Narendra Modi is to present the trophy to the wining team, and that’s why the match has to take place in Delhi, befitting the national capital. Besides Modi, his ministers and a variety of politicians, including the opposition Congress party, would be attending the five-day match that ends on 7 December. After all, Mahatma Gandhi had a close association with the Congress party.