India vs South Africa: Despite relief for Kotla, BCCI shouldn't ignore the mess in DDCA

For cricket fans, the fate of the fourth India vs South Africa Test is likely to be of greater interest than the troubles of the Delhi District Cricket Association. The Delhi High Court has greenlit the DDCA — with a directive to obtain a provisional occupancy certificate from Delhi municipal corporation — so the the fourth Test between India and South Africa will go ahead at the Feroz Shah Kotla.

But the court ruling notwithstanding, we should not avert our eyes from what ails the DDCA, for to read the Delhi Government appointed committee’s* scathing report on the DDCA is to be confronted with the reality of sports administration in India.

 India vs South Africa: Despite relief for Kotla, BCCI shouldnt ignore the mess in DDCA

Can Shashank Manohar do what N. Srinivasan couldn't? AFP

The BCCI is also culpable for this state of affairs, a point the Delhi government report makes clear. For years, especially under former president N Srinivasan, the BCCI turned a blind eye to what the associations do with the largesse the board disburses every year (roughly Rs 25 to 30 crore a year). This attitude encouraged state associations, typically run as fiefdoms by the same group of people for decades, to behave as they pleased.

Here’s a sample of the committee’s findings from the summary of the report:

A two judge panel overseeing the DDCA elections determined “there were massive and continuing illegalities in the affiliation of [certain] clubs and thus concluded that they were not eligible to vote.”

The committee found “payments have been made to companies which have never done any job/work or assignment for which the payments were made to them.”

An earlier Fact-finding Inquiry committee report “found the accounts of the DDCA to be in disarray and a perusal or the same will reveal that the accounts have been in disarray for a significant period”. The same committee was “highly critical of the functioning of the President SP Bansal and joint-secretary Anil Khanna regarding illegal and irregular transfer of funds.”

In one particular case involving the transfer of Rs 1.55 crore to three different companies, the committee found “there is no documentation regarding this transfer apart from account entries and this prime facie seems a case of theft and/or criminal breach of trust.”

Given these findings, it is remarkable that the association has still produced cricketers such as Virender Sehwag, India Test captain Virat Kohli and Gautam Gambhir. Or rather, it is a testament to the talent and dedication of these players that they managed to climb above the mess. Who knows how many other players have fallen by the wayside because of the DDCA’s ineptitude and alleged corruption?

A story on ESPNcricinfo last month laid bare how the DDCA has operated with impunity for years.

“DDCA is run by proxy. Proxies are people who vote for DDCA's executive committee, but they vote by proxy. They are such old members that no outsider can even establish who they are. They have given their proxies to those in power. Some of them are dead, but no one knows. In some cases 70-80 people live in the same house, on paper of course. No outsider can breach this hold of the few in power. You can litigate, but the DDCA has the backing of the biggest lawyer in India, Union finance minister Arun Jaitley, who was the president of DDCA from 2000 to 2013. The funda is clear: let us drag the litigation, and no one has as much muscle as us to keep fighting in the court.”

The DDCA case therefore also presents the BCCI with the first real test of its intentions following the removal of N Srinivasan. If the board is serious about the reforms president Shashank Manohar has initiated to much fanfare, then the DDCA should be suspended while the board conducts its own investigation into the multitude of allegations against the association.

The Delhi government committee met with Manohar to discuss the BCCI, but according to the report, Manohar made it clear that “the BCCl has an exclusive arrangement with the DDCA and hence may not be in a position to encourage any other body or organisation to conduct the holding of matches or other activities covered by their arrangement.”

But this is misleading.

The BCCI has the power to suspend associations that violate its rules. And this is exactly what the board has done in the case of the Rajasthan Cricket Association, which was suspended after Lalit Modi won the election for president. The board has since appointed an ad-hoc committee to run cricket in the state in order to keep Modi, whom it has banned for life, outside its walls.

There is nothing to stop the BCCI from following the same playbook in the case of the DDCA. Whether or not they do so will tell us how much things have really changed.

*The Delhi Government’s committee comprised Chetan B Sanghi, principal secretary (UD/PWD), Punya S Srivastava, secretary (Education/Sports) and Rahul Mehra, senior standing counsel of the Delhi government. Mehra is a long-standing opponent of the BCCI and the DDCA and has fought the BCCI in court on multiple occasions.

Editor's note: The copy has been updated to reflect the Delhi High Court ruling

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Updated Date: Nov 19, 2015 15:10:28 IST