Rajat Sharma, the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) president, stepped down on Friday along with the two members of the Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC) and the state unit’s CEO. After putting in his papers, Sharma was scathing in his criticism of people with ‘vested interest’ in the DDCA who he alleged did not care about the sport.
“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. It seems that it may not be possible to carry on in DDCA with my principles of integrity, honesty and transparency, which I am not willing to compromise at any cost. That’s why I have decided to call it a day and hereby tender my resignation to the Apex Council from the post of President, DDCA with immediate effect,” Sharma, a veteran journalist who runs India TV news channel, said in a statement.
On the day Sharma resigned, CEO Ravikant Chopra also put in his papers and so did former cricketers Sunil Valson and Yashpal Sharma — members of the CAC. Sharma and the DDCA secretary, Vinod Tihara, have been at loggerheads over administrative powers. Tihara had been suspended by the DDCA executive committee last year.
However, the events of the past 24 hours turned the tide in favour of the suspended secretary. DDCA director (cricket) Sanjay Bhardwaj confirmed that a resolution by circulation, signed by nine members of the Apex Council, was issued to reinstate Tihara as secretary on Friday.
“Nine of the 16 members of the Apex Council agreed to withdraw the power of the president to run day-to-day affairs of the DDCA. It was also decided that secretary Tihara would be re-instated and he would have full powers as per articles of association of the DDCA,” Bhardwaj said.
DDCA’s representative at the BCCI AGM on December 1 could well be Tihara.
“I would like to be the DDCA representative at the BCCI AGM. However, the decision as to who will represent DDCA will be taken by the Apex Council,” Tihara said.
Sharma alleged corruption in the DDCA when it came to tenders and team selection and hoped his resignation would result in the Supreme Court and the Board of Control for Cricket in India taking a closer look at what was happenning in the state unit.
“I wanted to expose the real face of DDCA through this resignation. Even today, there are people who are in the DDCA for their vested interests, getting contracts and tenders besides interfering in selection matters,” Sharma said at a media interaction. “My resignation should set the alarm bells ringing and all stakeholders including the Supreme Court, cricketers and BCCI should come to know that such vested interests are still very much at play in the DDCA and it is for them to decide the future course of action. I could have easily stayed on for another two years of my tenure. But I thought if I don’t resign today, it would be unfair to the members,” he said.
However, Tihara countered this argument. “Rajat Sharma was running a one-man show in the DDCA. He had all the decision-making powers and he is responsible for the current state of affairs. He can’t now turn around and blame ‘vested interests’,” Tihara said.
Though he has resigned, Sharma said that he would continue to fight people with vested interest in the DDCA. “I will continue my fight against the system and vested interests in my capacity as DDCA’s member. My resignation as president gives me the freedom to work even more diligently towards my vision for Delhi cricket,” Sharma added.
CEO Chopra said he had put in his papers because of the various roadblocks he faced. “There were several impediments from various vested interests within. Left to themselves, they would not have allowed us to follow the laid down rules and regulations,” Chopra said in a statement.
Following Sharma’s resignation, vice president Rakesh Bansal has taken over as DDCA acting president.