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IGU splurges funds on ageing staff

Entrusted with the task of nurturing budding talent for the big stage, the Indian Golf Union (IGU) has deviated from its stated slogan of “being a nursery for the promotion and development of junior golf”. Instead, on the agenda is the “promotion of individual interests”.

other Updated: Jun 05, 2010 00:49 IST
Robin Bose

Entrusted with the task of nurturing budding talent for the big stage, the Indian Golf Union (IGU) has deviated from its stated slogan of “being a nursery for the promotion and development of junior golf”. Instead, on the agenda is the “promotion of individual interests”.

For over nine months, the IGU has embarked on an exercise that will see it spending close to Rs 35 lakh a year on salaries.

For an organisation that suffered a huge loss in the fiscal year 2008-09, showering bounties on its over-the-hill mandarins makes little sense.

In this light, it is pertinent to examine the source of funding. In February last year, Rolex came on board as the official timekeeper to IGU events. Under the five-year deal, the Swiss watchmaker has committed $200,000 (Rs 93 lakh approx) a year.

“The official timekeeper bit is just a front, the funds are for the promotion of junior golf, but look where they are being channelised,” a member closely associated with IGU told HT.

The IGU swung into action right away. A prominent employment portal was approached and an advertisement placed in February/March 2009. Among the posts advertised for were those of CEO/Director General, National High Performance Manager and Tournament Director.

HT’s investigation reveals that not only were there discrepancies in the appointments (see boxes), which led to “second-best” candidates cornering the posts, the fat sums on offer can in no way be justified.

Investigation further shows that the position of Director (Marketing) has been filled without advertising for the post along with thepositions stated.

The incumbent, Rajnish Wadehra’s package includes a salary of Rs 65,000 per month and “an incentive of 15 per cent of funds” he brings to the IGU. In office since August 1, Wadehra has been set a target of “raising funds worth Rs 1 crore for the first year”, but his efforts have not borne fruit.

When contacted, IGU president, Ashit Luthra, denied the money from Rolex was for the development of junior golf. “Rolex are our official timekeepers and the sum is being used to implement the recommendations of Dominic Wall (an international consultant).”

Call it coincidence or otherwise, the awakening within the IGU to “professionalise” itself has coincided with the tie-up with Rolex.

Unconfirmed reports say Wall, who made two brief visits early last year, was paid Rs 15 lakh for his “services”.

Rolex refused to comment but admitted “an amount had been paid to IGU towards the structured development of junior golf in India”.