Will AICF defy Centre’s directive and hold general body meet?

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Chennai, Dec 14 (IANS) Suspense continues on whether the urgent meeting of the general body of All India Chess Federation (AICF) would be held on Saturday morning, defying the Central government’s direction to cancel the same.

Officials connected with the Indian chess federation told IANS that no letter of cancellation of the meeting of the general body has been sent out to the members of AICF.

“The meeting will be held as scheduled as the government cannot interfere with the internal affairs of an autonomous body,” an official of a state chess association told IANS preferring anonymity.

AICF President P.R. Venketrama Raja, Vice President D.V. Sundar were not available for clarification when contacted by IANS.

“We have no information about the cancellation of the meeting,” an official of a state chess association told IANS on the condition of anonymity.

In a setback to Raja, the Central government on Friday directed to cancel the urgent general body meeting called by him in the state capital. The government also warned AICF of suspension or withdrawal of the recognition accorded to it.

In a letter to Raja on Friday, the Ministry of Youth and Sports Affairs said: “It has been observed that a meeting has been called by the President on 14.12.2019 and by the Secretary on 22.12.2019 with almost the same agenda.”

“As the matter relating to financial irregularities in conduct of national championship and forged signatures are to discussed, the Ministry will depute an observer for the meeting.

“The meeting proposed to be convened by the President, AICF, on 14.12.2019 may be cancelled and meeting may be held on 22.12.2019 as scheduled by Secretary, AICF, so that government observer is able to attend the meeting,” the letter noted.

“In case, the directions of the ministry are not complied with and there is an attempt to suppress the complaints regarding financial irregularities, the government will take a serious view in the matter, warranting action for suspension/de-recognition of the Federation by the Ministry,” it added.

The government had sent the letter to the AICF President after considering a letter from the Secretary Bharat Singh Chauhan.

“We have the support of 20 out of 32 state chess associations and six office bearers of AICF. The officials of state associations and AICF office bearers have sent their postal votes to AICF on the matters listed on the agenda,” Chauhan told IANS.

“If they decide to hold the general body meeting then it is their decision,” Chauhan remarked.

Earlier, Chauhan had approached the Delhi High Court to stay the meeting called by Raja but did not succeed.

“The court had said I have to approach the Madras High Court,” Chauhan said.

Concerned at the developments at the AICF, 12 Grand Masters (GM), nine International Masters (IM) and three Woman Grand Masters (WGM) and one Woman International Master (WIM) had sent a letter to the Secretary of Sports Ministry to intervene and put a rest to the current infighting in the Indian chess body.

The urgent meeting was called by Raja on December 7 mainly to pre-empt the special meeting of the AICF general body called by Chauhan to be held on December 22 in Gurugram.

The agenda listed by Chauhan in the notice of the general body meeting called by him includes exploring the possibilities of early elections in the AICF; discuss and decide on the malafide show cause notice issued by Raja to Chauhan; discuss and decide about the letter from Sports Authority of India (SAI) and to adopt chess in school projects as proposed by Chauhan.

The main agenda of the urgent meeting called by Raja, who also heads the $1 billion turnover industrial conglomerate Ramco Group, is to discuss and decide on the show cause notice issued to Chauhan and appropriate resolution to be passed after deciding on the show cause notice.

The meeting will also deliberate matters relating to Bengal Chess Association (BCA) and the resignation of AICF Joint Secretary Atanu Lahiri (who is also the Secretary of BCA).

–IANS

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