Amid lockdown, a fresh power tussle between former and present bureaucrats started in the national capital on Friday as the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) agreed to hear a petition moved by the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) alleging “fraudulent and rampant mismanagement of affairs” at Delhi Gymkhana Club.
The club’s 16-member governing body, headed by retired Lieutenant General D R Soni, has been given time till May 8 to respond to charges levelled by the MCA. The senior counsel appearing for the club, meanwhile, told the tribunal that they would not accept any applications for new membership until May 13, when the case is scheduled to be next heard by the NCLT.
The MCA had, earlier this week, petitioned the NCLT to suspend the general committee of the club with immediate effect, and replace it with a central government-appointed administrator. The Ministry had, in its plea, also said that the club should be barred from accepting new members and a new 15-member government-appointed committee should manage the club.
The new panel would also undertake a “restructuring” so that the club “functions as per the terms of its memorandum and articles of association”, the MCA had said in its petition, a copy of which The Indian Express has seen.
The entire issue, sources close to the matter said, is “an ego battle” between members of the club and those seeking to be members. “A registrar general of the Ministry of Corporate Affairs was denied membership because he refused to pay the additional amount that was demanded by the club to keep him on the waiting list. He has got this petition filed,” senior advocate Vikas Singh, appearing for Delhi Gymkhana club, said, without naming the bureaucrat.
Sources in the MCA, however, said the Centre’s move to take over the management was in “public interest” as investigations had revealed that the membership was accelerated only “for people whose relatives were existing members”, which was violation of the club’s articles of association.
“The club has been under the scanner for a long time now. Investigations were on since 2014. There are violations in issues related to the ability of the company to take deposits. We did not, however, find any truth in allegation of siphoning of funds,” an MCA official told The Indian Express. The club has also flouted several other provisions of the Companies Act, including making false balance sheets and conducted improper audit, the MCA petition alleged.
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