Haryana govt to probe Chetan Sharma's charges against HCA

Chandigarh: Haryana Sports Minister Anil Vij yesterday said a high-level inquiry would probe the matter after former Test cricketer Chetan Sharma wrote to him levelling charges of corruption, nepotism, mismanagement and financial bungling in the Haryana Cricket Association.

"The allegations leveled by Chetan Sharma would be thoroughly probed by the state government and strict action would be taken against anyone found guilty," Vij said after receiving Chetan's complaint in this regard here.

Vij said that before this also, he had received many complaints regarding alleged irregularities committed by various sports bodies attached with many games and on which, appropriate actions is being taken.

HCA secretary Anirudh Chaudhry termed the allegations as "false and baseless" and said the cricket body will soon sit and decide to take legal action into the false allegations which are being levelled.

"I am submitting the present application to expose corruption, nepotism, arbitrariness and mismanagement in the functioning of the Haryana Cricket Association," Chetan Sharma, who met the Minister here today, wrote in his application, in which he had requested for a high level probe into his allegations.

In his application to Vij, a copy of which he also forwarded to Haryana's Governor and Chief Minister, besides Registrar General, Supreme Court in reference to the Lodha Committee report, Chetan also requested the Manohar Lal Khattar led BJP Government to conduct an inquiry into "corruption, nepotism, mismanagement in HCA, financial bungling in the purchase of lad at Jhajjar by HCA, lack of cricketing infrastructure in Haryana, failure to develop cricketing talent at district level".

The 50-year-old Chetan, who played 23 Tests and 65 ODIs, while talking to reporters before meeting the Minister, sought that former India captain Kapil Dev be put at the helm of the HCA.

He launched a scathing attack on the state association, calling it a corrupt body and detrimental to the growth of cricket in Haryana. "There is widespread corruption in the HCA and the office-bearers are solely responsible for it. A state which has produced eminent cricketers such as Kapil Dev and others does not have an international stadium of its own. The state association gets crores of rupees from BCCI every year to develop infrastructure and promote cricket, where does all that money go?" he asked.

Alleging that the misappropriation of funds in the association over the years amounts to more than Rs 200 crore, Sharma demanded a thorough probe by the state government. "Many former players and I have been voicing these issues for the last 18 years but no government has paid heed to it. I am thankful to the present Haryana Government that they have taken cognizance," he said.

Anirudh Chaudhry further said "each and every penny HCA gets and spends is accounted for. Our balance-sheets are audited every year. The allegations are motivated as some vested interests are behind these. "These are baseless and false ramblings, and statements that are made without any basis or facts," Chaudhry, grandson
of former Haryana Chief Minister, late Bansi Lal, said.

Responding to the allegations of financial bunglings in purchase of land by HCA at Jhajjar for construction of an international stadium, Chaudhary said, "we have not
purchased any land from someone who is close to us or related to us in Jhajjar for the international stadium.

"There is no mismanagement, no nepotism in running the HCA. It is a very well managed body, working on corporate principles, everybody is democratically elected. I am a treasurer of BCCI, my father (Ranbir Singh Mahendra) was BCCI chief, we were duly elected. Now, figures which are being plucked out of thin air are being thrown at us only to malign my and my family's reputation," he said.

However, hitting out at HCA, Chetan said, "our children are forced to practice in Nainital. Has the situation come to such a pass. Haryana had a big name like Kapil Dev, whom many treated only next to God like they treat Sachin Tendulkar. I grew up watching Kapil Dev, today where is he. I want to ask the people of Haryana have you seen Kapil in Haryana cricket. And the reason behind this is because one family has made HCA their fiefdom."

He said that reigns of HCA should be handed over to "people like Kapil paaji, Rakesh Jolly, Ashok Malhotra and I should be given the duty to prepare grounds in 21 districts of the State and to hire coaches". "I have got 500 phone calls from sons of farmers and ordinary people who want their children to become cricketers.

Why can't they dream to become cricketers, my father used to earn Rs 700 a month, I became a cricketer, why can't they, we need to clean up the mess," Chetan said.

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