BJP MP Kirti Azad and the Bishen Singh Bedi-led National Capital Territory (NCT) Cricket Association have filed a writ petition in the Delhi High Court asking for an investigation into the running of the beleaguered Delhi & District Cricket Association (DDCA).
“We have sought an investigation by the Central Bureau of Investigation into the affairs of the DDCA, monitored by this Hon’ble Court, and the appointment of an Administrator by this Hon’ble Court to take over the administration of the DDCA and to ensure its proper administration,” Bedi said in a statement.
In addition to the DDCA, the petition also names the Union Government of India, the Delhi government, the BCCI, the CBI and other current and former officials of DDCA, including Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.
“Our writ petition has been filed in public interest of cricketers and cricketing activities in the NCT of Delhi, and to ensure that DDCA is administered in a fair, just and proper manner, and also to ensure that the mismanagement in the DDCA comes to an end,” the statement said.
According to Sameer Bahadur, the secretary of the NCT, the Delhi government has been named in the writ because they should be safe guarding Delhi’s young cricketers against the money making scheme that selections have become.
“These boys belong to Delhi. Why should the chief minister not be responsible?” Bahadur said.
A story in DNA dated 30 December, 2015, backs up Bahadur’s claims of money for selection. It quotes an anonymous senior DDCA official saying “"The ongoing rate for an Under-14 team starts from Rs 4.5 lakh. It goes up to Rs 10 lakh if you want your son to play all the matches.”
There have also been allegations of selectors demanding sexual favours, which the same DNA story outlines.
The decision to file the petition was taken because the NCT believes it finally has the necessary documentary evidence to prove its case. The CBI has also begun preliminary inquiries, having sent the DDCA a notice last October asking for a list documents ranging from the memorandum of association, copies of final accounts and election results.
The writ petition is the latest step in the alleged corruption saga surrounding DDCA that has reached all the way up to the national government, with Azad having been suspended by the BJP for refusing to back down from pursuing the case.
Azad and the NCT have claimed there is widespread corruption within the DDCA that has gone on for years, including under Jaitley’s presidency from 2000 to 2013.
An investigation by the Serious Fraud Investigation office, prompted by Azad’s persistence, found 23 violations of the Companies Act, including misappropriation of funds, non-payment of taxes, hiring of tainted auditors and irregularities in the membership rolls.
The Delhi government has also launched its own commission of inquiry into the allegations against DDCA officials, led by former Solicitor General Gopal Subramaniam.
The association almost lost the right to host the fourth Test against South Africa, in part because of the chaos surrounding it and it was only allowed to do so after Justice Mukul Mudgal was appointed to oversee the match. In his report, Justice Mudgal slammed DDCA officials over a lack of transparency, rampant ad-hocism and mismanagement.
Delhi is also at risk of losing the World T20 match India and Sri Lanka on 12 February if it does not get the necessary permissions from government agencies.
Here's the writ petition filed by Kirti Azad: