National Cricket Academy land muddle thickens

Sacked NCA top man Ajay Kumar Jha says Srinivasan asked him and property dealer Gurudutt Shanbhag to liaise with KIADB.

New Delhi: Ajay Kumar Jha, who was recently dismissed as administrator of the National Cricket Academy (NCA) as part of a revamp and now being blamed for a land deal gone sour, has lashed out at “certain” BCCI officials, saying he was not involved in the transaction.

Jha disclosed that N. Srinivasan appointed him and property dealer Gurudutt Shanbhag to liaise with the Karnataka Industrial Area Development Board (KIADB) through which BCCI was trying to acquire 49.39-acre land, costing Rs 49.97 crore, for relocating the NCA within Bangalore.

“He [Shanbhag] used to monitor the progress; he used to bring copies of the four Gazette notifications issued by the KIADB. That’s why he used to come to my office. He was authorised to liaise with the KIADB by the BCCI... by none other than the then BCCI secretary N. Srinivasan,” Jha told MAIL TODAY, breaking his silence after some BCCI officials cast aspersions on him.

“He [Srinivasan] wrote a letter to KIADB chairman [saying] that Wing Commander Ajay Jha and Gurudutt Shanbhag would liaise from our side in day-to-day work. He wrote it towards the end of 2011,” he said.

Some people are alleging that Shanbhag had signed on behalf of BCCI. “Firstly there is no agreement as the land has not been allotted,” Jha said. “The acquiring process was not completed, so the land was not acquired by the KIADB and it has not allotted it to the BCCI. So, where’s the question of signing an agreement?” Jha asked.

He said certain BCCI officials are targeting him.

“Certain people in the BCCI want to justify the actions they have taken, so they want to malign my name by doing all this [casting aspersions],” he said referring to the recent massive restructuring of NCA. “I’ve served for 26 years in the Air Force and I’ve got the Ati Vishisht Seva Medal. I’ve been a pillar of uprightness throughout my career. If somebody points a finger [at me] I feel hurt,” Jha said.

“I’ve not retaliated against some stupid people, or gone to the press. Why should I waste my time? If someone says I had a vested interest, what could it be? Have I touched a single penny of BCCI money?” he asked.

“In fact, I improved the way accounting is done in BCCI. These people are talking all s***. There are a lot of holes in this [issue] and to serve their purpose they would malign anybody and everybody,” he said without mentioning names.

Some BCCI officials have expressed apprehension that the Board might have lost all of Rs 49.97 crore after the Karnataka High Court quashed the Gazette notifications following a petition filed by a few farmers who owned the land had a change of heart.

Jha is, however, at a loss why some people would drag his name in this muddle.

“I’ve absolutely no idea. Maybe they didn’t want me because I was doing a good job, so some people were threatened... I don’t know...,” he said.

Shahbhag, who owned two acres in the now-scrapped NCA land deal and is now being portrayed as a “middleman” and hand in glove with Jha, asserted that the BCCI money was safe with KIADB and that he would now help the Board get it back to clear his name.

He said that Srinivasan had issued the letter of authorisation to him and that’s why he used to frequent the NCA premises at the M.Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bangalore.Copy of the receipt as made available by Mail Today.

The BCCI eventually scrapped the Rs 300- crore plan to build a new NCA building on the land falling in Kadgurki and Yemrahalli villages in Devanahalli Taluk close to the Bangalore airport.

While giving a clean chit to Shanbhag, Jha said the entire money was safe as it was paid through a demand draft.

“You tell me what anybody would gain because there was no money involved. The money has gone to KIADB, a government organisation, and the BCCI has the original receipt,” he said. A copy of the receipt is with Mail Today.

Jha is also not ready to believe that someone would forge Shanbhag’s signature. “If somebody has forged it, what will he gain by it?” he wondered.

A total of 16 farmers owned the total land. KIADB took the consent of all the farmers for acquiring it. But the farmers said that the cost per acre given by the KIADB was less that the market rate. KIADB offered Rs 50 lakh per acre while they demanded Rs 1 crore.

Reproduced From Mail Today. Copyright 2013. MTNPL. All rights reserved.


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