New Delhi: The accounts of the last four financial years and membership records of the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) came under the scrutiny of the Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) on Monday.
A five-member investigating team, comprising SFIO, an arm of the corporate affairs ministry, and the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG), spent eight hours at the Ferozeshah Kotla scanning the DDCA records.
The investigation is an outcome of allegations of poor administration and financial irregularities levelled by former Test player Kirti Azad, and it seems it’ll go on for a few days. Azad is also believed to have accessed some incriminating documents through the RTI Act.
“It’s a fight to the finish,” Azad, a member of the Lok Sabha, told MAIL TODAY. “I have given SFIO 35 points [31 as mentioned in his press release] and they will investigate them all now.”
DDCA general secretary SP Bansal brushed aside Azad’s charges. “Allegations made by Mr Kirti Azad are frivolous in nature. We’ve already made our relevant submissions with the competent authorities, and all due clarifications, if any, will be provided,” said Bansal. “As far as the fabricated membership list that has been produced by Mr Kirti Azad is concerned, it’s factually incorrect and does not match with the actual records of DDCA.”
There seems to be some confusion regarding the membership list. Azad himself checked the list, besides the accounts, a few days ago. When DDCA provided him the list, Azad claimed he found some discrepancies in it, like several members whose residential addresses were the same as those of some of the office-bearers.
DDCA alleges that Azad tampered with the CD containing the members’ details. The association then provided him a hard copy of the list.
Azad claimed that he has sent the CD for forensic examination, though he didn’t mention the laboratory’s name.
“As to the CD, which you have alleged has been tampered by me, I’ve sent it for forensic examination, and the laboratory shall be approaching your officials soon for fingerprints to match the ones on the CD,” Azad wrote in a letter to Bansal, which he has also circulated to the media.
Azad alleged that the list he was provided with contained many bogus members.
“For instance, I found nine members listed at Jaitley’s address,” he said. Interestingly, Azad belongs to the same political party, the BJP, of which DDCA president Arun Jaitley is a senior member and the leader of opposition in the Rajya Sabha.
The two have been at loggerheads for a few years over various issues concerning DDCA.
"I also noticed there are clusters of proxies that they collect for election. For example, there are about 150 proxy voters residing at Kailash Hills [the area where Jaitley and vice-president CK Khanna live],” Azad claimed.
Khanna refused to comment.
“I’m very busy right now,” he said when contacted.
Azad declared that his “fight to the finish” would intensify in the coming days. “In a few days, former players like Bishan Singh Bedi, Madan Lal and Surinder Khanna etc., along with me, would hold a press conference,” he said. “ Bedi would address the media.”
Bedi said he was whole-heartedly with Azad on the issues he has raised. “Oh, yes, definitely... I’m with him. We are asking everyone to come along with us. How long can we tolerate all this? They are eating up Delhi cricket like vultures,” Bedi thundered.
“I was very active as a player when the Mehras were ousted from the DDCA [many years ago]. But RP Mehra cared for cricket, unlike these people. He was like an angel compared to these people.”
The SFIO team examined the DDCA records sitting on the ground floor of the new building at the Kotla that houses the two dressing rooms. “They came at 10 am and left the Kotla at 6.05 pm. In between, they checked the balance sheet of the preceding four years, besides the membership register,” said a source.
“They also had lunch there and were served tea at regular intervals by the DDCA.”