The present administration of the All India Chess Federation (AICF) is like the powerful queen on a chess board, hunting down the opponents, allege chess officials.
The latest cause of their complaint is the three-year suspension handed out to AICF Joint Secretary and International Master (IM) Atanu Lahiri, and the disaffiliation of Madhya Pradesh State Level Chess Association at the Special Meeting of the AICF General Body held in Jaipur on September 23.
Strongly refuting the allegations, AICF Treasurer Naresh Sharma termed them as ‘ridiculous’, adding that action is being taken based on complaints.
“The AICF actions are vindictive. Those who had contested the elections and those who had voted against the current management are being purged,” R.M. Dongre, President, FIDE Zone 3.7, told IANS.
According to Dongre, the AICF had sent the notice and other papers relating to the Special General Body Meeting held in Jaipur, which he was entitled to attend.
In a letter to AICF President, Dongre had said that a Special General Body Meeting can be called only for urgent matters and not to clear a huge agenda where vindictive actions are sought against state chess associations and individuals.
Incidentally, Dongre himself faced action by the AICF and global chess body FIDE and lost his post first. Later, FIDE reinstated him to the post after he cited the rules.
Speaking about his three-year suspension, Lahiri told IANS: “I was the only chess player of good standing in the AICF governing body. I am also the only chess coach to be engaged by the chess bodies of six nations.”
Lahiri said that he would continue to organise chess tournaments and coach players while continuing his fight.
In June this year, the AICF had sent Lahiri a show-cause notice, listing out various charges against him.
In July this year, dismissing the charges, Lahiri in his reply had in turn sent a lengthy complaint to Prime Minister Narendra Modi against AICF Secretary Bharat Singh Chauhan.
And now Lahiri has been suspended for three years from the post of AICF Joint Secretary.
Lahiri, the Chief Executive Officer of Bengal Chess Association (BCA), belonged to the rival camp of Chauhan and was elected for the Joint Secretary’s post.
Earlier, the AICF had disaffiliated the BCA and in its place affiliated the Sara Bangla Daba Sangstha.
“A court in West Bengal had issued an injunction order against AICF from interfering with BCA. The disaffiliation of BCA is a violation of the court order. The case for violation of court order is expected to come up for hearing early next month,” Lahiri said.
On the disaffiliation of Madhya Pradesh State Level Chess Association, its Secretary Kapil Saxena told IANS: “Till recently, everything was fine between the state association and the AICF. Only during the last two months the complaints were sent to the AICF against us. I had told the AICF that the complaints were motivated.”
He said there has been no official communication from the AICF about the disaffiliation.
“Out of the 50 districts, chess associations in 40 districts are affiliated to us,” Saxena added.
When contacted, AICF Treasurer Sharma told IANS: “The purge allegation is ridiculous. The suspension of Lahiri was decided following due process. There are serious complaints against him and an FIR has been lodged for forgery against Lahiri in Delhi.”
Sharma said the AICF is headquartered in Delhi and hence the police complaint has been lodged there against Lahiri, who lives in West Bengal.
He said Ranjan Mohanty, President of the All Orissa Chess Association, has been appointed as the AICF Joint Secretary in place of Lahiri.
“We are not purging those who contested or voted against us in the elections. The state bodies of Jammu and Kashmir and Kerala did not vote for us in the elections. No action has been taken against them,” Sharma said.
According to him, there were complaints against the Madhya Pradesh State Level Chess Association and hence action was taken.
(Venkatachari Jagannathan can be contacted at [email protected])