During the India-Bangladesh Test in Hyderabad last month, over 25 per cent of the overall tickets were given away as ‘complimentary’ while the members and officials themselves raked up a food bill of Rs 75 lakh.
A former Hyderabad Cricket Association (HCA) member was still issuing tenders and awarding contracts, most of which handed over on an arbitrary basis with no bidding process in place.
These are some of the scathing revelations that find a mention in Ratnakar Shetty’s (match observer) report to the High Court of Judicature of Hyderabad, as learnt by The Indian Express. As a result, the HCA incurred a loss of approximately Rs 44 lakh during the hosting of the Test match, The Indian Express has ascertained.
Shetty, had been appointed as observer by the BCCI to supervise and monitor arrangements for the one-off Test at Uppal Stadium on the directive of the High Court. Santosh Rangnekar, BCCI’s chief financial officer, meanwhile, had been appointed to oversee the income and expenditure of the HCA for the match.
Even as Indian cricket is supposed to be in the midst of a massive clean-up drive, it turns out that on the ground officials continue to abuse power and indulge their cronies.
It’s learnt that the report reveals that food wasn’t being splurged on only in the member boxes but also by the local police with the inspector of police having certified food bills for 2000 policemen every day of the Test match, which even surprised the police commissioner. The unnatural expenses with regards to food consumption by members and officials is attributed to keeping those who vote happy.
While generally each club gets five passes in the main pavilion with lunch included – in this case free tickets, including a buffet lunch, were given away to members with the total expenditure on their food accounting to 50 per cent of the overall catering bills.
There seems to have been little effort made to make profits even in terms of the sale of tickets. A total of 11,500 out of the 39,000 seats at the Uppal Stadium were given away as complimentary, which isn’t in accordance with the Lodha reforms. To boot, accreditation cards were provided to even ordinary members who had no match duties nor were part of the HCA staff.
It’s also learnt that the report cites an officer bearer, who had to vacate his office in accordance to the Supreme Court’s order, was allowed by the HCA president and secretary to actively be involved in the conduct of the match, including the award of contracts.
There also seems to have been a lack of transparency in the tendering process with extreme irregularities when it came to quotations for use of vehicles for 24 hours. Most of the contracts had only a single vendor bidding and there were no bids called at all in some cases. The interim president is said to have handpicked an agency for ticketing purposes without a tender while one joint secretary awarded contracts for buses and cars for teams and match officials.
There’s also the case of one particular vendor, who already had been given numerous annual maintenance contracts at Uppal, being handed an additional contract for work of a similar nature for the match days during the Test.