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With no money available, J&K's Ranji Trophy participation in doubt

According to information with DNA, JKCA has not started its preparation for the upcoming season despite the schedule being finalised a while ago

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With no money available, J&K's Ranji Trophy participation in doubt
J&K Ranji team in happier times
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With the financial irregularities in Jammu & Kashmir Cricket Association (JKCA) still being probed into by Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), and the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) refusing to release any funds, the cricketing activities in the state have come to a standstill as there no funds available.

And, if the situation continues for a few more days, there is every possibility that J&K may not even be able to play the coveted Ranji Trophy this season. This, despite the fact that the BCCI has already announced the four groups of 28 teams for the upcoming season starting on October 6. J&K have been placed in Group B with Jharkhand, Gujarat, Kerala, Saurashtra, Haryana and Rajasthan.

J&K team will also play its first game on October 6 against Rajasthan at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur.

According to information with DNA, JKCA has not started its preparation for the upcoming season despite the schedule being finalised a while ago. The scheduled coaching camp for various teams has also been kept on hold in the wake of serious finance crunch and JKCA secretary Iqbal Shah has now written to BCCI that "if financial condition of the association doesn't improve immediately, then it has no other option but to skip all the domestic events".

"During the previous two seasons, we (JKCA) sent teams for various age-groups and Ranji competitions somehow even without the funds being provided to us. Even the employees' salaries were paid by managing our own funds ever since Supreme Court orders were implemented by BCCI. But we have no money now to manage the show further," said Shah. "This, despite the fact that JKCA has already submitted affidavit regarding implementing required Lodha Panel guidelines."

Shah has apprised all top BCCI officials regarding the alarming situation in his state, but with the Committee of Administrators currently handling all the financial matters, there has not been any commitment made by any BCCI official.

"We don't have even a single penny to hold any camp or to send teams anywhere. We all know that only Ranji Trophy participation means a few crores of rupees. JKCA is trying hard to keep various cricket teams ready for participation. But it would not be able to send anyone anywhere if money is not released on time," said Shah, adding: "It is now up to the BCCI now."

On the other hand, a top BCCI official told DNA that "funds crunch is serious in JKCA but the Board may not be able to help out because of the ongoing investigation and pending case against previous office-bearers who were all involved in siphoning off huge money.

HC directs CBI

It must be mentioned here that the funds to the tune of Rs113.67 cr were released by BCCI to JKCA from 2002-03 to 2011. The scam started unfolding in 2012 when JKCA chairman Md Aslam Goni accused secretary Saleem Khan and treasurer Ahsan Mirza of siphoning the money by transferring into an account not related the cricket association.

It was noted that both the officials opened and operated association's bank account at Srinagar's Khanyar branch of the J&K Bank. According to the bank statement to the police "the amount from the account was released only after the authority letter of JKCA president Farooq Abdullah duly signed on June 27, 2008".

DNA then reported how this money, received from the BCCI, was parked in the bank account which did not belong to the association and swindled later.

Meanwhile, J&K High Court last week directed the CBI to complete probe in this regard within six weeks. A division bench of Justices Muhammad Yaqoob Mir and Justice MK Hanjura issued the direction after CBI counsel informed that "nearly 95 per cent probe has been completed".

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