Qaiser Mohammad Ali
Going by the initial decisions that retired high court judge Mukul Mudgal took on Saturday, when he visited the Ferozeshah Kotla to check the stadium for the next month’s India-South Africa Test, sanity returned to the DDCA – even though the changed atmosphere might remain only till the end of the match.
In a series of “hard-hitting decisions” taken on Saturday, Mudgal, whom the Delhi High Court has asked to oversee the December 3-7 match due to the DDCA’s pathetic condition, began by trying to plug the financial loopholes at the corruption-ridden association. DDCA is currently also virtually bankrupt.
Towards establishing an honest regime for the Test match, Mudgal, a former Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, appointed retired Deputy Comptroller and Auditor General of India I.P. Singh, whom he described with a “very good reputation”, to oversee the tender process for the match.
Tendering has been the biggest bane of the DDCA. Many people within the association say that during international matches many relatives and friends of some DDCA officials get contracts and make a quick buck.
Mudgal, who visited the Kotla along with four young lawyers, also appointed a tender committee that will comprise DDCA club secretary Sunil Jain, Sidharth Singh Verma, Salil Seth and Subhash Sharma – all DDCA directors and members of the executive committee.
Mudgal, a die-hard cricket fan who has watched many matches at the Ferozeshah Kotla, also met the DDCA directors at the Kotla.
Several people who interacted with Mudgal said that he didn’t look too much concerned with the committees the ruling core group of the DDCA had already constituted. But he firmly told them that everyone would have to report to him.
Mudgal, they said, also announced that all match-related decisions would have to be approved by him.
“When he talked he looked serious and meant each word that he uttered. He hinted that he wouldn’t allow any ad hoc decisions for the match,” a source told jantakareporter.
“When a couple of persons tried to recommend a few names to Mudgal for inclusion in a few committees, he let them know who the boss was – and he had the final say. In this process he might have inadvertently rubbed some officials the wrong way, but his motive always seemed to put things straight in an organisation where the system has collapsed.”
DDCA is widely known for its corrupt practices over the years, not just the present times, and some of those practices were highlighted in an internal auditor’s report of 2013-14.
“Now, it seems that corrupt practices would stop, at least for the duration of upcoming Test match. It’s DDCA’s good luck that Mudgal has been appointed to oversee the match,” said another source.
(Also read: Tremors in DDCA: ‘The epicentre is somewhere else’)
The Delhi High Court has appointed Mudgal only till the end of the match, but his assignment might well stretch till the ICC World Twenty, to be played from March 11 to April 3 in India. Mudgal, however, didn’t speculate on a probable extended assignment.
On Saturday, Mudgal’s focus was on financial aspect of the match, particularly the tendering process.
“We have finalised all tender documents today and these were put up on the DDCA websites [www.ddca.co and www.ddca.in] by 8.30 pm,” Mudgal told jantakareporter.com late in the evening as he watched Arsenal-West Bromwich Albion football match of English Premier League on TV.
These tenders included in-stadia rights, transport, catering and pouring rights, security and baggage scanners, housekeeping, walkie-talkies and PA system, and tents. Most of the tenders would be opened on Tuesday and the one for catering will be opened on Thursday.
“Retired Deputy CAG I.P. Singh will process the tenders and all tenders will be opened by him,” Mudgal said. “I.P. Singh knows the subject well and works with great efficiency. He has a very good reputation.”
Mudgal said he inspected each and every corner of the Kotla on Saturday, including “the cheapest gallery”.
“We will keep one stand free for government school students and would also provide them refreshments during the five days of the match,” he said.
Sources said that each student who would visit Kotla might be given a T-shirt and a cap too.
“I have also earmarked two rows for differently abled persons near the old club house,” informed Mudgal.
Mudgal also met police officers who would be providing security during the match, besides other government agencies that are always involved in the organisation of the match.