If the Kerala Cricket Association (KCA) leads the pack in corruption, then the Delhi District Cricket Association (DDCA) and the Hyderabad Cricket Association (HCA) are pioneers in rigging elections and functioning with zero accountability.
In the course of interviews with different members of the various state associations, DNA found that the election process is a farce and transparency is an unknown concept.
Said Rahul Mehra, a Supreme Court advocate, “The various cricket associations’ office bearers have unending tenures because elections are not free and fair. In most cases, they are tailor made to elect the same people year after year. Besides, there is complete lack of financial accountability.”
To find out what goes on in the DDCA, this correspondent attended the AGM of the DDCA held on December 31, 2011. DDCA has 4200 members, all of whom are eligible to vote or nominate a person on their behalf as a proxy. This is as per the Company’s Act, under which the association is registered.
But the rule is misused by a few for their advantage. “Those who collect maximum proxies are the most powerful,” says a member who’s been part of the DDCA for over two decades.
DNA found that in the last decade, in no election was that more than 150 members were physically present for the voting. DNA has a copy of the minutes of the meeting of several AGMs which confirms the same. In every election of the association, some 20 members collectively hold more than 4000 proxies. In such a scenario, the same people are bound to win again and again.
This correspondent got a chance to vote despite not knowing the person on whose behalf he was voting. “I will make you a proxy, vote for the person I tell you to. You can have a lavish lunch, which is arranged during the AGM,” said the broker who got the proxy made.
There is no checking system, no verification of who is voting. Getting a proxy in DDCA is so easy that anybody can walk in and get the proxy form like this correspondent did. DNA also has also a copy of a duly filled proxy form of a member who died some years ago.
Among the members of the DDCA, CK Khanna, vice president, is believed to be called “Proxy King”. In the election which this correspondent attended, C K Khanna had close to 1,300 proxies to his name.
Similarly, SK Bansal, Secretary has also enjoyed power by managing proxies over decades. Apart from these two, there are other members as well who get elected year after year. For instance, while Chetan Chauhan and Sunil Dev have had tenures for more than two decades, Arun Jaitley and N K Batra have latched on to some post or the other for close to a decade.
Despite repeated calls Khanna could not be reached. Bansal said, “We are registered as per the provisions of the Company Act and so we follow that strictly. Thus, elections are fair and democratic.”
What about transparency? During the AGM, this correspondent found that various members had written letters to executives of the DDCA but never received any reply.
DNA has copies of several letters written by different members seeking details about various financial matters related to the DDCA, letters that had received no response.
How the DDCA functions is evident from this sample letter. Says this letter by Sunil Mittal, Joint Secretary, DDCA, to Arun Jaitley, President, “It may be relevant if I point out here that a strange practice is being introduced in DDCA that the decision on all important matters are taken privately by a few of you without having any discussion on those matters in any duly convened meeting of DDCA and most of the members of the committee are not even informed about the same. Even minutes of such meetings are not circulated nor are any minutes of those meetings prepared.”
DDCA members said that senior ex-cricketers are sent to collect proxies on behalf of certain office bearers in DDCA, for the Executive Committee elections.
In the case of the Hyderabad Cricket Association, too, there is neither transparency nor accountability. DNA has a copy of a series of letters (more than 50 in the last few years) written by Narendra Gaud, Vice President, HCA, where he reiterates that he is surprised to see the expenditure of several crores of rupees on various purchases without mandatory Executive Committee approval. His other letters also indicate that the HCA gives out a lot of contracts without going through the due tendering process.
Despite being an EC member, Gaud has not received a reply to several of his letters, so one can only imagine the fate of other members.
Another letter signed by 54 HCA members lists more than 20 instances where serious irregularities have allegedly occurred. Apparently, four or five individuals have been controlling HCA for several years. The letter said, there are a few members who are holding key positions in the HCA for a long period of time. These include N Shivlal Yadav (20 years), M V Sridhar (12 years), P Yadagiri (12 years), and Mr D S Chalapathi (12 years). The letter states that the persons holding positions in the HCA for a long period are misappropriated crores of rupees.
The allegations range from misappropriation in the case of stadium contracts, practise flood lights, a ground development scam, fraudulent sale of tickets worth Rs23 lakh for the 2007 West Indies World Cup, and others. An FIR also been registered against Shivlal Yadav for his alleged involvement in the above mentioned cases.
For instance, in the case of purchase of chairs for the Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket stadium, Uppal, DNA has copies of two contradictory certificates. While the President Arshad Ayub’s letter suggests that 39,368 chairs were purchased for the stadium at Rs916 each, N Shivlal Yadav’s letter suggests that the HCA has purchased 46,000 chairs for Rs 1,500 each. “This is just one example. There are discrepancies everywhere,” said PR Man Singh, former HCA secretary and manager of the Indian cricket team which won the 1983 World cup.
Even a senior member of the HCA has written hundreds of letters demanding clarification on various financial matters pertaining to the HCA, but very rarely does he get replies.