Calcutta, Feb. 27: Within hours of Jagmohan Dalmiya countering the accusations from Sharad Pawar’s men and claiming he had never taken even “one rupee” from the cricket board, the establishment struck a second time.
The former board president has been asked to explain within 15 days why action should not be taken against him for “irregularities” in the Pakistan-India-Lanka Committee (Pilcom) accounts.
Dalmiya had sent his 11-page reply to the charges thrown at him by N. Srinivasan, the new convener-secretary of Pilcom, around 2 pm before addressing an emotionally charged news conference that lasted an hour.
No sooner had Dalmiya left the briefing than the news that he had been showcaused reached his office.
“I have no immediate reaction, I’ll be seeking legal opinion,” was all that Dalmiya had to say on Monday evening.
At the news conference, however, he had drawn on all his powers of persuasion to try and explain to a packed room that he was being wrongly accused of misappropriating funds.
“Forget four million, I challenge the opposition to prove that I have taken one rupee from the BCCI (Board of Control for Cricket in India),” Dalmiya said as his face registered a range of emotions from anger to hurt.
The principal charge against him is that the Pilcom accounts are silent on a sum of $4 million that is apparently due from TWI for the TV rights for the 1996 World Cup.
Dalmiya said: “Srinivasan has made a wild, defamatory aspersion through innuendo. I wish to state categorically that I am not aware of any amount being due from TWI. The onus is on the new convener-secretary to substantiate his charge with documentary evidence.”
The Pawar group has slipped up here. The rights for the 1996 World Cup were with WorldTel; TWI was not in the picture.
On why he had closed the Pilcom-related Calcutta bank account, he said he hadn’t deviated from BCCI practice.
“The bank account in question was an imprest account of the BCCI, which had to be maintained as 64 cases initiated by the income-tax department are still going on. Whenever any person holding a BCCI post lays down office, he is required to close the imprest account and forward the proceeds to the BCCI treasurer,” Dalmiya explained.
But why did the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) hand over Rs 39.41 lakh to the BCCI when the balance on the date of closing was Rs 17.67 lakh'
That additional amount (Rs 21.74 lakh), Dalmiya said, represented the bills he had run up while attending various BCCI meetings after the end of his term as the board’s president.
“I was entitled to TA/DA as per BCCI rules for attending those meetings. The amount of Rs 21.74 lakh was spent towards my travel, boarding, lodging and conveyance. Not a single penny was spent for my personal use or for the CAB. All necessary papers have been handed over,” Dalmiya said.
He added that the CAB was advised to pay this amount (Rs 21.74 lakh) to the BCCI and “subsequently forward its claim for reimbursement”.
Turning emotional, Dalmiya turned to the Ramayan.
“Sita had to give agnipariksha once, how many times do I have to give it' I have been subjected to such an onslaught before also and none could prove anything against me,” he said. “Let them go on trying, I’ll see the end of it. If needed, I’ll take them to the court.”