Qaiser Mohammad Ali
Despite Mukul Mudgal’s and his team’s best efforts to conduct the India-South Africa Test in a transparent manner last month in Delhi, enough traces of a fresh ‘scam’ have been detected – of unapproved contracts being given without express permission of the former judge that could well cost the DDCA Rs 50 lakh.
The ‘scam’ is around 18 unapproved contracts allotted by some of the top officials who are currently controlling the DDCA, forcing Mudgal to order a thorough scrutiny of such bills generated during the five-day match played from 3-7 December, said sources.
Among the unapproved contracts was the food order for 350 plates per day for the five-day Test match, raking up a contentious bill of around Rs.14 lakh, said a source in the know of things. Many other similar bills have been received by Mudgal, appointed by the Delhi High Court to conduct the match.
A source close to the team that Mudgal constituted to organise the Test match, the former chief justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court is unhappy with the way some DDCA officials allotted contracts without his approval. All such bills are now being scrutinised.
Mudgal had permitted a few DDCA officials to spend less than Rs 1 lakh without his prior permission only for “urgent measures” to be taken for the match, played at the Ferozeshah Kotla. But, a source said, that these DDCA officials gave away about 18 contracts, each one worth over Rs 1 lakh, without informing Mudgal or taking his express permission.
Due to these transgressions by some DDCA officials, payments related to “unapproved” contracts have been stopped all doubtful bills are now being scrutinised minutely by IP Singh, a retired Deputy Comptroller and Auditor General of India, whom Mudgal had handpicked to assist him, as per the court’s order.
“The unapproved contracts included that of food and printing of match tickets. We came to about these contracts when suddenly bills started arriving; these contracts were kind-of ‘illegally’ given by certain DDCA officials. All such bills are now being checked and DDCA officials who allotted these contracts are being asked to explain their acts,” more than one source confirmed to jantakareporter.com.
“Mudgal and his core committee, including of lawyers, IP Singh and DDCA officials, are looking into all these transgressions and closely scrutinising all such bills,” said one of the sources. “The total dent could come to Rs 50 lakh or even more as a result of these unapproved contracts.”
He said that a few meetings specifically to look into the “illegal” payments have been held under the chairmanship of IP Singh, who has been looking after all the financial aspects of the match, including the tendering process. More such meetings are scheduled before a final decision on this issue is taken.
The source said that by allotting unapproved contracts a few people in the DDCA seem to have once again “successfully” sold to Mudgal and his team their age-old modus operandi of making money.
“Their tactic has been to deliberately delay allotting contracts/work till the very last minute before big matches. And when they finally allot work, surprisingly only a few people are seemingly ready to provide services required. And these people happen to be invariably close to someone or the other in the DDCA, and both end up making money at the cost of the DDCA. It’s surprising that match after match, the same set of people get DDCA contracts,” he explained.
“Amongst the 18 cases of unapproved contracts detected include an order to Embassy Restaurant for 350 extra food plates for each day of the five-day match. Each plate’s cost was Rs 800, so the totals cost comes to Rs 14 lakh,” said the source.
“Another similar case came to the fore when a Rs 25 lakh bill for printing of match tickets was received. No rate was fixed beforehand for printing these tickets, nor prior permission from Mudgal was taken for giving 6 per cent commission to the agency, DNA, that sold match tickets,” he informed.
“There is a whiff of deputing excess manpower for various work done during the match. Also, there is a dispute about the fee that is to be paid to people deputed for mandatory BCCI activities like those attached with match referee and doping team etc.,” he said. “We are expecting more such surprises in the next few days.”
After taking charge on November 19 for the Test match, Mudgal first withdrew the ‘faulty’ tenders, which had already been floated by the DDCA officials. Mudgal’s move fetched handsome income for the DDCA.
“The income from the in-stadia rights was Rs 2.05 crore, match tickets worth Rs 1.04 crore were sold, and the food tender fetched Rs 8 lakh [different from the one given order for 350 plates]. Only these three tenders fetched Rs 3.18 crore. Once all the financial aspects of the match are taken care of, Mudgal may well show profit from the match—and this is despite the extra expenditure that the DDCA may have incur due to unapproved contracts,” said the source.
If the DDCA eventually makes a profit, it would the first instance in many years, as the association has a “history and tradition” of making losses by hosting international matches at the Kotla.
The DDCA showed a loss of Rs 1.31 crore in its balance sheet after hosting an India-West Indies Test match in November 2011; a loss of Rs 11.15 lakh after hosting an India-England One-day International in October 2011, and a Rs 69.23 lakh loss after staging four matches of the 2011 World Cup. The total loss from the three events comes to Rs 2.11 crore.
Mudgal is expected to submit with the Delhi High Court his report on the India-South Africa Test match by January 16.