SAI asks AICF to refund Rs 10 lakh given for sub-junior nationals
The Sports Authority of India (SAI) has sought the refund of Rs10 lakh released to the Bengal Chess Association via the All India Chess Federation (AICF) for conducting the national sub-junior championships (boys and girls) in Kalyani in July 2018, on the ground that the state body had submitted fake utilisation certificate.
In a letter to the AICF dated November 26, SAI said it had sought clarification from the chartered accountant, whose signature and seal was on the utilisation certificate and was informed “that the impugned seal and signature does not belong to the firm”. In view of the fake certificate, SAI has asked AICF to refund within seven days of receipt of the letter Rs10 lakh released for the tournament.
“The matter may be examined by a three-member committee appointed by president, AICF and a detailed report be submitted within seven days,” the letter said.
SAI has also sought details of all national championships conducted by AICF since 2014 with information on host units, dates and venues, amount sanctioned by SAI and whether funds were diverted to third parties other than the state associations for the conduct of such championships.
Submission of fake certificates is a criminal offence.
SAI, on behalf of the government, reimburses funds spent by national federations or their affiliate state units for conducting national championships in senior, junior and sub-junior categories. The national federations have to submit certified bills along with a utilisation certificate from a registered chartered accountant along with the reimbursement claim.
AICF officials said they had forwarded the claim papers as received from the Bengal Chess Association. “I have written to the Bengal Chess Association to return the funds released by SAI by November 30. The matter will be raised before the AICF Central Council in its meeting for appropriate action,” said Bharat Singh Chauhan, honorary secretary, AICF.
Grandmaster Dibyendu Barua had made allegations of financial irregularities against the Bengal Chess Association secretary Atanu Lahiri, who is also the AICF joint secretary. The AICF had conducted an inquiry and given him a clean chit.
With SAI declaring the certificate fake, Barua has sought action against Lahiri and the committee.
“I welcome a detailed probe into the issue. The probe should also look at the motive behind this allegation. The motives could be (a) to trap me in a criminal case (b) malign me and spoil my name. Who will benefit from this should also be probed,” Lahiri was quoted as saying by IANS.