Updated: January 9, 2020 9:12:02 am
Lawyers paid Rs 1 crore in one month, Rs 90 lakh spent to spruce up marquee stands for a T20 International — these two accounts entries have triggered a bitter fight in the Delhi and District Cricket Association’s Apex Council. The two unusually high amounts was one of the reasons for the public brawl among members at the DDCA AGM last month and the issue is still far from over.
With DDCA joint secretary Rajan Manchanda refusing to clear payments to the vendor, the embarrassing impasse continues. “I will not sign on the cheque nor will I clear the bills when it comes to the marquee stands. The cost of services at the marquee stand as per the bills submitted to the DDCA is much more than when the tender was issued. These bills need to be scrutinised to see why the amount has increased. The amounts need to add up compared to the facilities provided in the marquee stands,” Manchanda said. The joint secretary is one of the authorised signatories.
Officials say that the marquee stands which came up for the India-Bangladesh T20 game in November had cost nearly three times the amount for which the tender was awarded. The first invoice submitted was of Rs 37 lakh but on the same day, November 22, 2019, the same vendor submitted another invoice under the head ‘additional items and services’ which added up to Rs 52 lakh.
Both the invoices were for ‘infrastructure at New Club House/Bay Area and Hill Area’ at the stadium. Another Apex Council member said there were no details about the number of tickets sold and revenue from the marquee stands during the T20I between India and Bangladesh.
“The first issue is that the bills seem inflated and on top of that, there are no details on how much the DDCA made from ticket sales at the marquee stands. Were the expenses justified if the state association didn’t generate enough income?” the Apex Council member said.
DDCA secretary Vinod Tihara admitted that the bills raised by the vendor in relation to the marquee stands needs to be probed. “When it comes to the bills if there is something amiss, it will be probed. On the face of it there seems to be something fishy,” Tihara said.
This is not the first time an Apex Council member has raised an objection to accounting practices at the DDCA. At the Annual General Body Meeting on December 29, treasurer OP Sharma had voiced his dissent when the balance sheets were presented.
“I raised a dissent note with regard to the balance sheet of the DDCA. Though I am the treasurer of the DDCA, I have not been shown the accounts or the balance sheet. I have been kept in the dark,” Sharma had said.
A certain section of the Apex Council has also raised objections to the various bills being submitted by the lawyers who represented the DDCA or its officials. For the month of November, the total legal bills raised have amounted to nearly a crore. “For the financial year 2018-19, the total legal expenses were about Rs 3 crore. So how is the legal expenses for November so high? It needs to be checked if the fees some of these lawyers are charging are justified and whether these bills are genuine,” an Apex Council member said.
The image of the DDCA took a beating when rival factions came to blows at the Annual General Body Meeting on December 29. On November 16, DDCA president Rajat Sharma had resigned stating: “Cricket administration here is full of pulls and pressures all the time. I feel that vested interests are always actively working against the interest of cricket.”
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