The Aligarh Muslim University Students’ Union has welcomed the decision of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) to file a review petition challenging the Supreme Court’s Ayodhya verdict. A statement issued by AMUSU president Salman Imtiaz said the verdict “appeared one-sided in the conclusion.”“We consider the building of the temple over the land of the mosque as a humiliation, injustice, and subjugation of Muslim minorities. It appears a step towards the creation of Hindu domination in India wherein Muslims will be rendered to second-grade citizens,” Mr Imtiaz said.He further said the AMUSU was committed to the cause of Babri Masjid, and it would never allow India to lose its constitutional core. “We are happy with many details in the judgment that have strengthened the constitutional framework of the nation, and outrightly rejected Hindu chauvinism,” the statement said.
S.K. Wankhede (left) and N.K.P. Salve: Power struggleOf all the sports organisations in this country, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is possibly the richest. Last fortnight, however, the riches had created a problem: the simple matter of a cheque for Rs 35 lakh – the proceeds,S.K. Wankhede (left) and N.K.P. Salve: Power struggleOf all the sports organisations in this country, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is possibly the richest. Last fortnight, however, the riches had created a problem: the simple matter of a cheque for Rs 35 lakh – the proceeds of the Delhi Test between India and the MCC last year – which should have gone to the BCCI account in Madras, but instead went into a fresh fixed deposit account in Bombay.Over half-a-dozen of the 28 BCCI members asked for details of the cheque’s curious progress. Jagmohan Dalmiya, honorary secretary of the Bengal Cricket Association, wrote to M.A. Chidambaram, BCCI treasurer, asking if any board official or working committee member had approved the opening of the account for such a huge amount – according to BCCI rules no new bank account can be opened without the board’s approval.The Delhi Test was handled by a special committee appointed by the BCCI, because the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) had been superseded. BCCI President S.K. Wankhede headed the committee, I.S. Bindra, president of the Punjab Cricket Association was convenor and P.M. Rungta of Rajasthan was treasurer. As there was no permanent body in Delhi to look after the record profit of Rs 35 lakh, it was resolved that the money would be transferred to the BCCI’S account in Madras. According to Bindra, he along with Rungta wrote a cheque for Rs 35 lakh on February 5, 1982 in favour of the BCCI.advertisementBut instead of handing the cheque to Chidambaram, Rungta inexplicably withdrew the money from the Tolstoy Marg branch of the New Bank of India and converted it into a demand draft – No 434072/78/82 dated February 6, 1982 – drawn on the bank’s Bombay branch – Bindra was not in on this. In a letter to the bank, Rungta wrote: “Please issue a demand draft in the name of Board of Control for Cricket in India payable at Bombay.” On the same day, as it happened, an account was opened in the Banque Nationale de Paris and a fixed deposit of Rs 35 lakh for one year was made in the name of the BCCI. Chidambaram received a fixed deposit receipt from Rungta, instead of a cheque.Disputed Matters: The matter was first raised at the working committee meeting on April 1, 1982. Some pointed questions remained unanswered: why Rungta converted the cheque into a draft on his own; why a foreign bank was preferred, especially when the rate of interest – 7.5 per cent – is the same as that of Indian banks; who endorsed the account papers as only the BCCI president and/or treasurer can operate an account and that too after a BCCI resolution; and how the bank opened an account in the name of an organisation without asking for the resolution and the memorandum of association.The group that has talked the most about Rungta’s initiative is the “anti-Bombay group’, and consists mostly of senior government officials like Bindra, Phalgum Matilal, a joint director in the Railway Ministry, Kamlesh Sharma, a joint secretary in the Union Home Ministry and S.K. Kakkar, a senior Chandigarh administration official.They are powerfully backed by Minister of State for Information N.K.P. Salve, Jammu & Kashmir Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah and Kamal Nath, the powerful MP who dislodged K.K. Mehra and his friends from the DDCA. Kakkar says that “there is ample scope for smelling a rat” and feels that the bank “might have used the cash for sanctioning loans to various firms” in the wake of the credit squeeze.In the August 16-17 meeting of the BCCI in Bombay, this group demanded that the Central Bureau of Investigation investigate the matter and that the account be closed. But Rungta was not present and a decision was postponed. For his part, Rungta refutes the allegation that there was anything wrong in opening the account.Said he: “Bindra signed a cheque and gave it to me to be handed over to the treasurer of the board. It is also correct that I handed over the demand draft receipt to Chidambaram.” He also claimed that the new account was opened in consultation with the treasurer and the president. But both Chidambaram and Wankhede, when asked in the board meeting, did not accept that they knew about it earlier.Financial Problems: ‘Irregularities’ in financial procedures have occurred earlier. Dalmiya had pointed out 54 errors in the audited accounts for 1980-81. The general body meeting in Bangalore on September 28, 1981, took note of his objections which included: glaring discrepancies in the cash and bank balances in accounts presented by the treasurer to the BCCI working committee on August 3, 1980 and figures given out at the Bangalore meeting; Rs 26 lakh expenditure on the Golden Jubilee Test between India and England at Bombay when only Rs 11 lakh was approved; unexplained expenditure of Rs 2 lakh in foreign exchange in England during the 1979 tour; and investment of nearly Rs 1 crore in various private companies by the BCCI investment committee without the approval of the BCCI board or working committee.advertisementThis last provoked quite a furore at two meetings of the board. According to the statement of accounts for 1980-81, the private companies so favoured are Tata Oil Mills (Rs 10 lakh), Mahindra and Mahindra (Rs 25 lakh), Bayer India Ltd (Rs 15 lakh), Standard Oil Mills (Rs 15 lakh) and ITC Ltd (Rs 25 lakh). The money came from nationalised banks by prematurely cancelling fixed deposits, and board officials accepted that the board or the working committee did not authorise the withdrawal and that the terms and the conditions were not disclosed earlier. Wankhede and others claimed, however, that no BCCI office-bearer was connected with any of the companies. Only after Dalmiya persisted was an eight-member inquiry committee, headed by Wankhede, appointed to look into these allegations: the final report is still to come even after a year.Things are likely to come to a head on September 26, 1982, at the elections for the office-bearers. The ‘anti-Bombay group’ led by Bindra is determined to oust Wankhede and his men and they seem to have numbers on their side: at a recent meeting of their group 16 of the BCCI’s 28 members were present.They have reportedly decided to field Salve for the president’s post. Says Matilal: “Ours is a democratic fight. We don’t want politics and money to spoil Indian cricket; we want to cleanse the BCCI of unscrupulous elements.” A pitched battle is clearly in the offing.