The Delhi Gymkhana Club has alleged that it was facing harassment at the hands of the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) as it “resisted pressure” to give membership to Navrang Saini, a high-ranking official at the Ministry.
“Insofar as the complaint of Navrang Saini is concerned, it arises out of the Club having resisted pressure to give him membership. The Club verily believes that since (Mr) Saini was a high-ranking member in the MCA, the harassment that the club has been facing from the Department of Corporate Affairs harps back to that episode,” the club said.
Saini, currently a whole-time member of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India, was serving as a director general during his last stint at the MCA.
The allegations by the Delhi Gymkhana Club are a part of its reply affidavit filed with the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT). The Indian Express has reviewed a copy of the affidavit.
The MCA had late last month on April 24 moved a plea before the NCLT that it a management committee appointed by it should immediately take over Delhi Gymkhana Club as there was “fraudulent and rampant mismanagement of affairs” prevalent at the century-old club.
The NCLT had then agreed to hear the petition and asked the club’s 16-member governing body, headed by retired Lieutenant General D R Soni to respond to MCA’s plea by May 13. The plea will now be heard on Monday.
In its reply affidavit, the club has, without naming anyone, also said that regional director of the northern wing of MCA, approved action “without application of mind”.
“It is trite that in the matter of a private club, such as the answering respondent, there cannot be any element of public interest as so understood to enable the Petitioner, the Union of India to file a petition,” the club said in its reply.
“He has mechanically, without application of mind agreed with the investigating officer and recommended action, a glaring defect that goes to the root of his formation of his opinion and renders it non-est,” the club said in its reply affidavit.
Asserting that there was “no element of public interest” as the Delhi Gymkhana Club was a “private club formed for the use of its members or other permitted persons”, the management committee of the club has requested the NCLT to dismiss the management takeover petition filed by the MCA.
The “real aim, intent and purpose” of the petition by MCA, the management committee of the club said, was to cause the “corporate death” of the place, and therefore it was shocking that the government wanted to takeover the club, the club said in its affidavit.
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