BCCI does not have a website! Do you know?

Published: Saturday, July 24, 2004, 23:53 [IST]
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New Delhi:Do you know - Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), the richest cricket body in the world, does not have its own website?

The issue was raised in the Delhi High Court on Saturday during the hearing of a PIL seeking an independent probe into the functioning of the cricket body and its accounts involving huge public money after BCCI counsel P N Lekhi claimed that it was functioning in a transparent manner.

Lekhi filed before a Bench of Chief Justice B C Patel and Justice B D Ahmed an affidavit explaining the steps taken by BCCI for betterment of the game and players in the country.

However, BCCI's submission was contradicted by petitioner Rahul Mehra, who alleged that it was nothing but an "eyewash".

"They (BCCI) don't even have a website. The Cricket Board of every country has its own website. Where do we get any information about BCCI?

"Their financial details are more closely guarded than the nuclear secrets of India," Mehra said.

The Bench, which had on May 14 asked the Central Government and BCCI to work out a mechanism to maintain checks and balance, transparency and accountability in its functioning, asked BCCI to file further details about the steps taken by it by Aug 11.

In their PIL filed in 2000, advocate Mehra and one Shantanu Sharma alleged that BCCI and its member associations were functioning in an arbitrary and opaque manner.

They sought a probe into BCCI's accounts for the past five years from the date of filing the petition contending BCCI and its other member associations were functioning as private empires of some businessmen, who have come to control and abuse cricket for their own interest and profit.

BCCI, which agreed to provide information sought by the court, has questioned the maintainability of the petition, contending the court had no powers to issue any directions to the apex cricket body under writ jurisdiction (Article 226) of the Constitution.

Earlier, Central Government had told the court that it was unwilling to directly interfere in the affairs of BCCI as it could lead to its disqualification as a member of the International Cricket Council (ICC).

Petitioners alleged that BCCI and its member associations were acting contrary to the objectives for which they were created and the development and promotion of the game was suffering at the cost of Board functionaries.

They sought audit of the accounts of BCCI and other member associations by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG).

In April 2000, the court had issued notices to Central Government, BCCI and Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) on the petition, which also sought direction to the Government to withdraw all concessions, tax exemptions and stadia given to BCCI and its associations until they introduce transparency and accountability in their functioning.

The petitioners also asked the court to issue directions to the Central Government to revoke the licence given under Section 25 of the Companies Act to DDCA and abolish the system of proxy voting prevalent in Delhi and District Cricket Association.

The petition was earlier dismissed in default after the petitioners did not appear on one of the dates. However, it was revived late last year.

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