Ex-player's pension stumbles at conflict hurdle

Cricket : Complaint against KSCA puts Lakshminarayana in a spot

Ex-player's pension stumbles at conflict hurdle

 CR Lakshminarayan, a former Karnataka cricketer who represented the State in Ranji Trophy between 1964-65 and 75-76, hasn’t received his monthly pension for almost six months (amounting to Rs 60,000) due to him from the Karnataka State Cricket Association.

The reason? He is one of the signatories to a dossier sent to BCCI and its ombudsman, former Chief Justice of Delhi High Court AP Shah, pointing out the alleged conflict of interest cases in the association.

A former Managing Committee member, Lakshminarayan, along with two others, had written a letter to KSCA President PR Ashok Anand (dated 9/12/2015) alleging conflicts of interest involving certain former members of the Managing Committee and current Secretary Brijesh Patel. These claims had earlier been brought to the notice of BCCI officials (including Secretary Anurag Thakur) through letters dated August 8, 2015 and then again on November 18, 2015.

The matters pertain to financial transactions between KSCA and some private firms in which Brijesh and/or his family members allegedly had commercial interests. Composite Travels Private Ltd, Sporting Frontier (India) Private Ltd, Stella Vista (India) Private Ltd and Auro Display Private India Ltd are the entities listed by the plaintiffs as having been involved in commercial business with KSCA between 1999 and 2007. Brijesh came to power for the first time in 1998.

Based on these allegations, Shah had sent a notice to Brijesh seeking his reply by 25th of last month. The deadline was extended to February 6 on a request by Brijesh due to passing away of his mother last month. The complaint against Brijesh is one of handful of cases that the BCCI-appointed ombudsman has taken cognisance of.

From the action of the KSCA, it appears, they haven’t taken kindly to Lakshminarayan raising the issue which they believe has already been dealt with by the concerned legal authorities.

In a letter (21/12/2015) addressed to Lakshminarayan, Ashok Anand has stated: “It appears from your letters that you are revisiting some of the matters which were effectively concluded as per law with a categorical finding that the alleged transactions were in accordance with law and rules of the association.”

It further adds: “We, as the Managing Committee presently in office, have taken strong exception to the fact that you are a signatory to the two letters, one of which has been sent to several others including the BCCI as mentioned above without even substantiating the veracity of your claims… The decision to withhold your pension is not a unilateral decision by the Honorary Secretary (Brijesh) as alleged by you, but is an interim step taken, as you have cast aspersions on the conduct of the present Managing Committee of Association.”

While Brijesh didn't respond to attempts seeking his stand on the issue, KSCA spokesman and MC member Vinay Mrityunjaya, justified the decision to withhold the pension and challenged Lakshminarayan to prove his allegations with all the original documents. “We have asked him to approach the president with all the documentary evidence and substantiate his allegations. If he can’t do that then it’s a serious issue and the MC has full authority to take any suitable action,” he reasoned.

Reacting to Mrityunjaya’s claim, the complainants said that they had responded to the president’s letter addressed to Lakshimarayan on 27/12/2015 through a communique in which they pointed out that it was Ashok Anand himself who had released a booklet “Is this transparency”, highlighting the alleged conflict issues involving Brijesh just before the 2007 elections. “We are only reiterating the same allegations that the booklet contains and Ashok Anand believed them to be so.”

The complainants also point out that it was Mrityunjaya himself who was one of the signatories to a letter (written to MD Narasimha Murthy, the officer who conducted the enquiry into the same allegations on 27th of October 2010 and gave all-clear to Brijesh) which in a way questioned the legitimacy of the probe that had been conducted without the consent of the Managing Committee, including then president the late Srikanta Dutta Narasimharaja Wadiyar.

Complaints and reaction

Instances of conflicts of interest as per the complainants:

 1. Composite Travels: Business of Rs 47 lakh is diverted to this company after Brijesh Patel assumes office of secretary of KSCA. This company was started by Brijesh and his brother (Mukesh Patel) with one more director. Chandrashekar, who was a member of Financial Advisory Committee (FAC) of KSCA, signs as a witness. Hence payments to this company are in violation of Memorandum of Association of KSCA and the provisions of Karnataka Societies Registration Act.

 2. Sporting Frontiers (India) Pvt Ltd: Instadia advertisement contracts are awarded to this company in February 2001 and the same is renewed for a further period in August 2004. BN Subramanya -- one of the members of the FAC, was the promoter, director and shareholder of this company – didn’t disclose his interest in the company to the Managing Committee or FAC. This amounts to a person sitting in judgment awarding the contract to his own company.

3. M/s Stella Vista (India) Pvt Ltd: Amounts are spent by KSCA for purchase of Electronic Scoreboard in 2005 by a South African company M/s Stella Vista Technologies Ltd (Stella Vista SA) which had listed Brijesh Patel as its India representative.

KSCA says complainants are revisiting matters that have been dealt with as per law with a finding that the transactions were in accordance with its rules.

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