Over 1,000 liquor bottles shown as broken, requisition slips for Royal Stag whisky to allegedly appease Delhi Police and MTNL officials, and unauthorised expenditure of over Rs 8 lakh to allegedly entertain directors, members and auditors.
The mismanagement of the bar at Ferozshah Kotla — highlighted by the DDCA’s fact-finding committee report in 2015 — has been the subject of several complaints by members over the years. But, according to Justice Mukul Mudgal’s latest report on last month’s India-South Africa Test match, “no tangible action appears to have been taken by the management and accounts wing”.
Now, there appears to be a growing consensus within the DDCA to punish the guilty despite demands by some members to reopen the bar that was shut late last year because of the allegations of wrongdoing.
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An audit report concludes by noting that the mismanagement resulted in an annual loss of over Rs 40 lakh.
Said DDCA treasurer Ravinder Manchanda, “There is more than what meets the eye when it comes to losses at the bar. The reasons for the loss need to be scrutinised. Asked about the high “entertainment expenses” of members, Manchanda said, “No officebearer or member is allowed to drink alcohol and charge the DDCA under entertainment expenses.”
However, according to the inquiry committee of the DDCA, members didn’t always reach for their wallets to buy a drink or two. For instance, the DDCA’s fact-finding panel’s report states that two members procured liquor worth Rs 2,33,603.18 within a period of one year without making any payment.
“The liquor has been obtained without due process and with apparent illegality, which… causes financial losses to the association and is also capable of tarnishing the image of the association. As per the ledger provided, a total sum of Rs 8,53,950 has been booked under entertainment expenses, however, no proper explanation/ supported bill voucher has been provided to indicate as to what payment has been made under what head and what amount has been utilised for entertaining directors or members or the so-called auditors of the association,” the fact-finding report states.
Members also allege that the unusually high breakage count of bottles is related to pilferage of liquor from the bar. “The unpaid and unaccountable bottles are shown as broken,” said a member.
When contacted, DDCA joint-secretary (company affairs) Dinesh Kumar Sharma acknowledged the problem. “I have heard of complaints that over 1,000 bottles have either been broken or ‘expired’. How can this happen? It needs to be investigated as to why so many bottles have ‘expired’ or are damaged before they can be sold or consumed,” he said.
Besides, members say, the DDCA has an “old tradition” of using liquor to “get things done”. There are a number of requisition slips with the club secretary (Sunil Jain) — some of them were examined by The Indian Express — that show bottles of whiskey were issued for Delhi Police personnel and other government officials. There are also allegations that bottles didn’t always reach those for whom they are issued.
Besides, the fact-finding committee’s report records instances of liquor having been sold on October 2, which is officially a dry day. “Some vouchers were found showing the payment for liquor even on Dry Day ie., October 2, 2013 as well as match days October 5 and 6, when the bar as well as the store remain closed,” states the fact-finding committee’s report.