The Delhi & District Cricket Association (DDCA) was, on 18 November, handed a major boost after the Delhi High Court permitted the troubled cricket body to host the fourth and final Test between India and South Africa, scheduled from 3-7 December.
The DDCA had moved court for interim relief after the South Delhi Municipal Cooperation (SDMC) had rejected its application for a no-objection certificate to hold the final Test of the four-match series at the Feroz Shah Kotla stadium.
During the hearing, the court also directed the SDMC to issue provisional occupancy certificate to the DDCA who was given a deadline till 17 November by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to get all the necessary clearances from the government and the Delhi civic body.
The DDCA came under scrutiny after former cricketer and BJP MP Kirti Azad had raised the issue of financial irregularities within the association. A three-member panel, comprised of secretaries in the sports and urban development departments, was formed to investigate the alleged corruption in the DDCA.
Asked to report back on their findings within 48 hours, the three-member panel submitted its report on 17 November and recommended the suspension of DDCA. The panel also suggested that the DDCA should be brought under the ambit of Right To Information Act.
The issue of corruption and financial management has plagued the DDCA for many years, but the inability of the factions to resolve the differences seems to have come to bite them back. Both the Delhi government and the Delhi civic body have slapped numerous notices on the DDCA.
The BCCI, too, has stopped the funds to the DDCA for the past two years after the association failed to file its accounts for the said period. On the other hand, prominent former Delhi cricketers led by former Indian captain Bishan Singh Bedi also met Kejriwal on 10 November and submitted a memorandum alleging largescale corruption within the association.
Fraud balance sheet for 2013-14
Kirti Azad, who had earlier raised the issue of financial irregularities in the association, confirmed that many illegal practices are encouraged in the DDCA. On 10 November, Azad wrote to BCCI chief Shashank Manohar to expose the financial irregularities in the DDCA's balance sheet for 2013-14.
In his e-mail, Azad alleged that the balance sheet, which was submitted by the DDCA vice president CK Khanna to the BCCI, is comprised of several crores worth of fake bills apart from Rs 1.55 crore that was round tripped by the DDCA president Sneh Bansal to his own company, Rattan Industries.
Labeling DDCA's accounts as a bunch of fake documents, Azad urged the BCCI president to depute a reputed and knowledgeable auditor by the Indian cricket board to rummage through all the fake bills that have gone into making this "sham Balance Sheet."
"There is so much of muck in the DDCA, which rightly the CBI instituted an inquiry into. I am really very sorry that DDCA has gone this way. We kept on informing the officials who really mattered there. They have also been served a notice by the CBI . An FIR has been lodged against DDCA and its directors. There is a lot of huge malfeasance there and I am sure it's going to come out," he said.
Evasion of entertainment tax
The biggest impediment for the DDCA is the massive sum of Rs 24.46 crore it owes to the Delhi government as entertainment tax. The DDCA has been alleged to have sold under-priced tickets for the elite hospitality boxes at the Feroz Shah Kotla stadium to evade the entertainment tax.
An assessment order - dated October 21, 2015 - had directed the DDCA to pay the amount within 15 days from the receipt failing which 'necessary action will be initiated under the provisions of the Delhi Entertainment and Betting Tax Act 1996'.
The association apparently believes it was exempted from entertainment tax from 2008 to 2012, but the new commission has asked them for arrears for those years plus interest. So DDCA claims they owe no more than Rs 5 crore, but the government has asked for a little over Rs 24 crore.
The DDCA on 5 October released a list of players selected to represent the association in the CK Nayudu tournament, an under-23 event. Prashant Bhandari and Hiten Dalal were included in the list of 15 players despite having an FIR registered in their name by PS IP Estate, New Delhi under section 420/468/471 IPC on the complaint of forging and fabricating their birth certificates.
Inspite of being aware of registration of the said FIR alongside another FIR No. 312/2015, PS IP Estate and the DDCA having being called upon by the Investigation Officer to keep the record relating to these players in the safe custody, the association selected these players at the helm of the Chairman of DDCA selection committee.
Also, several boys in the under-19 category have FIRs filed against them for forging their birth certificates. Manjot Kalra and Harsh Tyagi, who were selected in the Delhi U-19 team for the one-dayers in October earlier this year, both have had FIRs filed in their cases. Despite the complaints, the two were dispatched with the Delhi team to Punjab to participate in the tournament.
CBI's 20-point questionnaire
Following an enquiry into an alleged tax evasion, the CBI sent a 20-point questionnaire to the DDCA on 28 October asking it to submit the attested copies of documents/information for the period 2008-13. CBI's main focus also has been on the renovation of Feroz Shah Kotla, for which a whopping amount of over Rs 140 crore have been spent till date.
"Look at the kind of stadium which Delhi has built at a cost of nearly Rs 140 crore and then compare it with stadiums around any other part of India built at nearly one-fourth or even less cost. You will get the answer yourself without digging deep into the facts. This is the most unfriendly stadium for any class of spectators. Last year, Pakistani greats were here and they exclaimed that they have not seen a worse stadium in the world than this," senior DDCA member Sameer Bahadur said.
Serving liquor on Gandhi Jayanti
A resto-bar run by the DDCA within the Feroz Shah Kotla stadium premises was on 12 September sealed by the Delhi government's excise department for the violation of government rules. Apparently the bar named 'Outswinger' had served liquor to its member on October 2, 2013, which is celebrated as 'Gandhi Jayanti' and according to government regulation is a dry day.
While DDCA officials argued that they served liquor as matches of the now defunct Champions League T20 were being held, the Excise department had served them a showcause notice to explain about the violation of the government order.