Indian cricket is once again in the shadow of corruption, with the Aam Aadmi Party levelling massive graft charges against Finance Minister Arun Jaitley who was the chairman of Delhi and District Cricket Association. However, Delhi is not the first - political intervention in cricket bodies have triggered allegations of corruptions, malpractices and conflicts of interest in many other state bodies in India, playing down the very spirit of the sport.
When Centre, Delhi locked horns
The political blame game began in the national capital after the CBI conducted searches at the residence of Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal's secretary Rajendra Kumar. The Delhi government alleged that the Centre directed the probe agency to recover files relating to the DDCA scam, to prevent them from becoming public.
The AAP stepped up its attack on Jaitley in the following days raising a plethora of allegations against him. The party claimed that a budget of Rs 24 crore was approved to construct a cricket stadium but Rs 114 crore was spent on it. It also alleged that the payments were made to companies that did not do the work they were set up for.
AAP leader Kumar Vishwas said that the scam involved siphoning off money through fake companies between 1999 and 2013.
According to Congress leader Ajay Maken, an SFIO probe had revealed that there was no record of tender for most of the contracts issued by the DDCA for the construction of the stadium. Many companies that were given contracts were actually owned by the office bearers of the DDCA, he alleged.
BJP MP and ex-cricketer Kirti Azad said 14 companies in the contract list, whose bills were cleared by the DDCA in cash, had fake addresses.
The Delhi Cabinet has approved setting up of a one-member inquiry commission under former Solicitor General Gopal Subramanium to probe the alleged irregularities.
Power struggle in Rajasthan
The ongoing tug of war in Rajasthan Cricket Association saw a major twist on December 16 when Amin Pathan-led rival faction withdrew its no-confidence motion against Lalit Modi paving way for the former IPL Commissioner's return as president of the board.
Modi now enjoys the numerical superiority in the state cricket body.
Former BCCI president Sharad Pawar has extended his support to Modi saying: "The credit for IPL's success should go to Lalit Modi. He shouldn't be harassed by BCCI officials who are not at helm today."
BCCI had suspended the RCA in May 2014 after it elected the controversial cricket tycoon its president. The national body had set up an ad-hoc committee to run the cricket affairs in the state and Amin Pathan was serving as the 'acting' president of the RCA.
The latest developments give little chance to end the crisis as not many in the BCCI board are amused at Modi's return to the helm. Sources said the BCCI is unlikely to end the suspension of the RCA.
Modi, the founder of Indian Premier League, was suspended by the BCCI in 2010 for allegations of misconduct and later expelled for life in September 2013 after a panel found him guilty in eight of the 11 charges against him.
According to the BCCI regulations, Modi's expulsion cannot be revoked for at least three years from the date of issue of the ban.
Infighting paralyses ACA
The power tussles in Assam Cricket Association between President Gautam Roy and Secretary Bikash Baruah, coupled with allegations of irregularities have crippled the day-to-day affairs of the board.
A PIL filed in the Guwahati High Court alleged massive financial irregularities and accused the ACA of 'conspiring' to shift ownership of the Barsapara stadium, recently constructed with funds from the government and the BCCI, to a private trust.
According to the PIL, the ACA office-bearers had refrained from holding its annual general meeting since 2009 and flouted all norms of accounts and finances including the provision of its own constitution. It is alleged that several contracts of work in connection with the stadium construction project were given out without inviting tenders.
The Guwahati police raided two premises of the ACA in July 2015 and seized several documents relating to its financial transaction and accounts of the past 10 years following an order of the High Court.
BCCI has stopped sending funds to the ACA, which is in acute financial crisis now.
Things got even worse when officials recently recovered 51 cheques worth Rs 12 lakh from the drawer of Bikash Baruah. The cheques were found while the rooms in the stadium were being cleared for the South Asian Games, according to media reports. The cheques, some of them even dated 2010, were issued by the BCCI for a few state players. Now questions are raised as to why the association didn't hand them over to the players.
JKCA scam hits cricket in valley
Jammu and Kashmir Cricket Association has been in the news recently for all the wrong reasons. JKCA former treasurer Ehsan Mirza and former General Secretary Saleem Khan faces charges of criminal breach of trust and criminal conspiracy.
They were accused of diverting Rs 113 crore, received from the BCCI as subsidy, by operating several bogus accounts between 2005 and 2012. JKCA President and former Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah and other National Conference leaders are also allegedly involved in the scam.
The Jammu and Kashmir High Court in September ordered a CBI probe into the multi-crore cricket fund scam. The central probe agency subsequently registered a case against both Mirza and Khan for their alleged role in the scam.
After the scam surfaced in 2012, the BCCI stopped its funding to the JKCA.
In July 2015, the association ousted Farooq Abdullah and elected Sports Minister Moulvi Imran Raza Ansari as its president. However, this move was stayed by a Jammu court.
Tips of an iceberg?
All is not well with many other state cricket bodies in the country. For instance, the Gujarat Cricket Association passed audited accounts for two years together in September. There are allegations that a few coaches of GCA are voting members.
The infamous scams in connections with the IPL over the years have already made a huge dent in the popularity of the gentleman's game. 2015 was another disheartening year for the Indian cricket with two major clubs—Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals being suspended from the cash-rich tournaments over the sport-fixing and betting scandal.
With the BCCI itself at sixes and sevens battling the controversies on and off the field, it is high time to clean up the entire system from the top to bottom.