Members of the National Cricket Academy’s sub-committee were in for a rude shock when it was intimated that the Board of Control for Cricket in India lost a whopping Rs 50 crore on a dubious land deal and is now mulling initiating criminal proceedings against those involved in the mess.
Such was the mood after the news was made official that the sub-committee did not discuss filling up vacant positions of support staff which were up for grabs.
The members of NCA sub-committee were on Thursday apprised that one Gurudutt Shanbagh, who is neither an employee of the BCCI nor associated with any state association signed documents on behalf of the Board with Karnataka Industrial Areas Development Board (KIADB) to procure 49 acres of land at a place called Kurki, near the airport.
Apparently, the BCCI made a payment of Rs 46.135 crore for this deal in 2010.
Earlier, in 2008, it paid Rs 3.841 crore to the Karnataka government for 32 acres of land at a place called Bidadi for building NCA facilities but the deal was called off as it was far away from the international airport and logistical difficulties were taken into account.
Now after having paid nearly Rs 50 crore (Rs 49,97,60,000), BCCI bosses were surprised as to the number of PILs that were filed in the Karnataka high court.
On June 20, the high court gave its verdict terming the land deal illegal.
This is when the BCCI top brass realised that they were taken for a ride by a tout. Shanbhag, since then, is untraceable and the role played by former manager (administration) A K Jha came under the scanner.
It is learnt that BCCI Game Development manager Ratnakar Shetty got a recorded statement from Jha in which he has admitted that "Shanbagh had co-ordinated voluntarily on behalf of BCCI" but couldn't give any convincing answer as to what was the former's (Shanbagh's) locus standi.
"When we questioned as to how Shanbagh entered into the picture, we were told that no one knows his background as he was regularly seen sitting at Jha's office," a BCCI office-bearer said.
Jha has already been removed by the BCCI and the NCA committee on Thursday referred the matter to the BCCI’s working committee.
"Since Rs 50 crore is a big amount and also there is an urgent need to decide on what kind of action be taken against Shanbagh and Jha, the matter has been referred to working committee for approval."
A few members also raised questions that how the then BCCI treasurer, who had the signing authority, disbursed such huge amounts if it was known that Shanbagh was BCCI representative in the land deal but there were no concrete answers.
Among other decisions approved by the NCA sub-committee were: Zonal Cricket Academy (for five zones) are again coming back as State Cricket Academies will be under its wing.
Only BCCI contracted players can avail free rehabilitation programme at the NCA while franchises have to bear costs of injuries during IPL.