Shiromani Akali Dal leader Bikram Singh Majithia on Wednesday requested the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to hold an independent probe, including a CBI inquiry, into charges of malpractices and corruption made by former cricketer Harbhajan Singh against Punjab Cricket Association (PCA) President Gulzar Inder Singh Chahal.
In letters to both BCCI President Sourav Ganguly and Secretary Jay Shah, the former Punjab minister said a separate probe should also be held into embezzlement and irregularities done during the recent India-Australia match.
“All this is necessary not only to stem the rot in the functioning of the PCA but also ensure a better future for the budding cricketers of Punjab.”
Majithia said the rot in the PCA started after Chahal was elected President on May 27 after the formation of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government.
He said Chahal was apparently the choice of Chief Minister Bhagwant Singh Mann who prevailed upon PCA members to drop Rajender Gupta, who enjoyed a wide appeal due to his clean image as well as his commitment to social causes.
“Thus Chahal was air dropped on the PCA despite the fact that he was a political figure who had already served as treasurer of the Punjab Pradesh Congress during the tenure of Navjot Singh Sidhu.”
In his letter to the BCCI President and Secretary, Majithia said the last five months had witnessed the steady erosion of established norms and even widespread irregularities in the management of the PCA and sought their intervention to set things right.
He said the PCA President was subverting the constitution by inducting 150 new lifetime members with voting rights. “This is being done without seeking the approval of the apex council and general body of the institution which is also against the constitution of the BCCI.”
Majithia also highlighted how the committee which had been appointed to select the new lifetime members was packed with Chahal’s “cronies” with four out of the five members not even being lifetime members of the PCA.
“Cricketers feel if this illegal move succeeds it will change the character of PCA and lead to the rampant induction of AAP activists and politicisation of the organisation. PCA will thus become a personal fiefdom of Chahal,” Majithia said.
The former minister said former cricketer Harbhajan Singh, who was the chief adviser of the PCA, had also opposed this move after he received complaints from association members as well as district units.
“Harbhajan Singh has also leveled specific allegations of corruption against the PCA President. It is also being alleged that money is being collected illegally by the PCA to please the current political masters of Punjab. PCA Secretary Dilsher Khanna has also objected to this move and submitted a complaint to the ombudsman. Both these complaints should be probed thoroughly,” he added.
Majithia also highlighted how the recent India-Australia cricket match held at the PCA stadium in Mohali last month was also completely mismanaged.
“Embezzlement was done in sale of tickets as well as pass allocations. Even the quota of VIP passes was misused.”
He urged the BCCI to direct the PCA to put a freeze on induction of new members immediately.