Clubs turning private, DDCA style
Something distinctly odd is happening at the Delhi & Districts Cricket Association (DDCA) — this time with regard to institutional clubs.india Updated: Jul 29, 2010 00:32 IST
Something distinctly odd is happening at the Delhi & Districts Cricket Association (DDCA) — this time with regard to institutional clubs. The ownership of these 'sick' institutional clubs, their financial transactions to and from the Sports Working Committee (SWC), and the legitimacy of their representatives have all come under a cloud following a complaint by Pramod Jain, secretary of the DDCA-affiliated Sarojini Nagar Gymkhana Club.
Jain, in his complaint, has accused the Sports Committee convenor Vinod Tihara and DDCA secretary sports Sunil Dev of converting Syndicate Bank Cricket Club, an institutional club, into a private club (Syndicate Cricket Club) and controlling and running Punjab National Bank, another institutional club.
Why would someone do this? First, there's the annual subsidy - the cash awards and refreshment amounts that the SWC gives is diverted to the new club. Second, and more significantly, the value of a private club is now somewhere between Rs 30 to 50 lakh, so owning a club means huge money.
In the case of Syndicate Cricket Club, the names which figure in its bank account are enough to raise eyebrows. The account is operated by Bhola Shanker, an employee of Syndicate Bank who's been accused of colluding with the DDCA officials, and Manish Tihara, reportedly a relative of Vinod Tihara.
"It's not for the first time an institutional club has been changed into a private club. It has been done on quite a few occasions, the last being the UCO bank in 1997 by the same people who are now accusing us of doing so. Besides, we didn't convert Syndicate Bank Cricket Club it into a private club on our own. We got a NOC from the bank in 2005 to change it into a private club," said Vinod Tihara.
Nevertheless, the club continued to run under the same name until 2007-08. However, questions remains. Can the SWC change the nature of a club on its own? Who decides on the ownership of a club after it becomes private? Can the SWC hand it over to anyone they feel like, as appears the case with Syndicate Bank Cricket Club?
The case of Punjab National bank is equally queer. While the bank, in its RTI reply on June 6, 2010, states that 'there exists no team of Punjab National Bank', a team under the name PNB cricket club plays in the DDCA league, and won the Super Plate Division pool 11 in 2009-09. Who owns this team if not PNB? Jain, the complaint, alleges that this club, too, is being controlled and run by Vinod Tihara and Sunil Dev.
There's also doubt over the Rs 30,000 annual subsidy paid to clubs. While Tihara insists this is paid only to private clubs, LIC, an institutional club affiliated with the DDCA, admits that it received a subsidy of Rs 30,000 in October 2008. However, Engineers India Limited, another institutional team, declares that they haven't received any payment from the DDCA in the last three years, although they have been regularly paying the affiliation fee and playing league matches.