The top three officials of the Goa Cricket Association (GCA) were on Wednesday arrested by the Economic Offences Cell of the Goa Police for alleged embezzlement of funds to the tune of over Rs 3 crore. The development has forced the BCCI to look at appointing a committee to run GCA.
According to a police spokesperson, GCA president Chetan Dessai, secretary Vinod Phadke and treasurer Akbar Mulla were impounded and sent for medical examination. “The trio has been arrested on charges of cheating, impersonation, forging documents and criminal conspiracy,” said the spokesperson. Incidentally, Dessai is also the chairman of the BCCI marketing committee.
The police acted on a complaint lodged by GCA life member Vilas Dessai last month. As per the complaint, Chetan Dessai, Phadke and Mulla had allegedly forged signatures and opened bank accounts to swindle TV rights money that the GCA received from the Indian cricket board in October 2006.
Dayanand Narvekar was the state association president then with Dessai holding the post of secretary and Phadke working as treasurer. According to a GCA insider, in April 2007, a bank account had been opened by “impersonating and posing” Phadke as president, Dessai as secretary and Mulla as treasurer. The account was closed in March 2008 after removing the entire amount (Rs 2.87 crore) by cash or bearer cheque.
“The above noted accused persons who were the members and signatory authority for Goa Cricket Association hatched a criminal conspiracy by impersonating and posing as President, Secretary and Treasurer of Goa Cricket Association and further prepared forged, fake documents and resolution of Goa Cricket Association and submitted the same to Development Credit Bank, Panaji Branch, for opening an account in Development Credit Bank in the name of Goa Cricket Association and thereby misappropriated the funds of TV subsidy sent by Board of Control for Cricket in India to Goa Cricket Association, thereby cheating Goa Cricket Association for tune of Rs 2.87 Crores.
“They also withdrew Rs 26 Lakhs from Federal Bank of Goa Cricket Association (account) on the non existing person’s name on the pretext of giving the money to a company namely HAKO enterprise, which was never given and thereby cheated Goa Cricket Association to the total tune of Rs 3.13 Crores,” said the complaint, adding: “That the bank account in which the said cheque (TV rights money, Rs 2.87 crore) was deposited was opened in the month of April 2007 and closed in the month of March 2008 in the same financial year due to which the transactions do (sic) not reflect in the balance sheet of that financial year.”
The complaint report also mentioned the alleged BCCI inaction. “That a life member of GCA, Shri Hemant Angle, had complaint (sic) about this fraud to the BCCI but no action was taken by BCCI even to investigate in (sic) the matter. This shows that how BCCI has supported the Committee members in such above mentioned fraud. Without the strong support of BCCI, the mother body of GCA, the office-bearers would not have dared to do such act of cheating,” it claimed.
The cricket board under its present dispensation, however, has launched a clean-up drive following the Lodha Committee whiplash. When asked about the latest turn of events at the GCA, BCCI secretary Ajay Shirke said: “Let the law take its own course. We will ensure cricket and cricketers’ interest is looked after by the BCCI. For us, cricket and cricketers are important, and the BCCI will take all necessary steps to see nothing happens to them.” The GCA also defaulted on service tax for over five years as the dues mounted to Rs 19 crore. The BCCI has decided to act. “We will appoint a committee to look into the day-to-day functioning of the GCA. The BCCI will not suspend the GCA as the matter is under the law,” a Board official said.