Former IB and PIB chief, diplomat: Top bureaucrats who took on Delhi Gymkhana
“The investigation was begun by the MCA in 2016,” said a second of the complainants who did not wish to be named. “There were many issues with the club.”Updated: Apr 26, 2020 16:33 IST
The Centre’s petition against Delhi Gymkhana in the company law tribunal hinges on the complaints made by some former bureaucrats, many of whom are still members of the prestigious club.
The complaints mentioned in the petition, filed by Ministry of Corporate Affair’s Regional Director (North) Raj Singh, include those lodged by former IB chief Rajiv Jain, former Indian envoy to Afghanistan Amar Sinha, former director general (in the rank of additional secretary) of the Ministry of Corporate Affairs Navrang Saini and former Press Information Bureau chief Neelam Kapur.
According to the petition, Jain’s complaint was lodged with the then President of Gymkhana in August 2018 when he was still the Intelligence Bureau chief. He said that SN Dhawan and Company, who were appointed as statutory auditors of the Club in 2013, were “ineligible” since they were permanent members of the club. The former IB chief declined comment on the matter.
Sinha and Kapur, along with committee members (2017-18) including charted accountant Arjun Sawhny, businessman Arjun Kapur, former special secretary in the cabinet secretariat Krishna Verma, former special commissioner Delhi Police BS Brar and former army officer CDRC AJ Singh wrote to MCA in September 2018 alleging “illegal adoption of accounts for the financial ending on March 2018”. The seven were a part of Delhi Gymkhana’s former president Prashant Sukul’s committee.
“Such actions (illegal adoption of accounts) must have made MCA come to the conclusion that things are not straightforward in the club. There is corruption and collusion,” Sinha told Hindustan Times on behalf of the above-mentioned group of complainants.
“Secretary is a key management post in the governing committee along with the company secretary and board member. So presidents, who want their unquestioning loyalty, give them concessions. All rules are then broken with impunity. These employees are paid to advice the Club. Evidently, their personal interests overshadowed their professional duties,” he added.
Kapur declined to comment.
“I’m not surprised this has happened,” said a member of the group on the condition of anonymity. “Delhi Gymkhana has a history of mis-governance and shielding those responsible for misdemeanours.”
This person added that the complainants above feared they would become culpable as the accounts were hurriedly passed. “We had to protect ourselves. So we lodged our dissent, perhaps, that’s what was noticed by the MCA.”
Saini and IRS officer Lakshay Kumar complained that the Club “retrospectively revised registration fees” , according to the petition.
“The investigation was begun by the MCA in 2016,” said a second of the complainants who did not wish to be named. “There were many issues with the club.”
“The corruption allegations began in 2016,” a former president of the Club told Hindustan Times. “We noticed that projects were costing triple the amount that was allocated to them initially. A swimming pool that should have cost Rs 3-4 crore was finally completed for nearly Rs 12 crore.”
Various committees, including one under retired revenue secretary P. Bhide, flagged concerns about the same, the former president of the Club said. “But none of the recommendations were accepted.”
Delhi Gymkhana president Lt Gen DR Soni (retd) refrained from commenting since the matter is sub-judice.