Mumbai: Charges fly ahead of NSCI elections

Haji Ali club gears up for Sunday’s big vote; financial losses, corruption allegations features in to and fro

Ire and fire at an NSCI Annual General Meet (AGM) years ago
Ire and fire at an NSCI Annual General Meet (AGM) years ago

Move over BMC elections, the National Sports Club of India (NSCI) elections are here. Members of the Haji Ali club, are all set to sacrifice their Sunday socializing and siesta for a visit to caste their vote in the club. The polling for the club begins at 8 am and will end by 6 pm.

A source spoke on condition of anonymity stating that the current management’s balance sheet showing loss of R110 crore, for the last three years is on the scanner.

Rakesh Malhotra, NSCI secretary though dismisses that figure as “wrong. In fact, we (the current committee) have improved the finances of the club to such a huge extent. We have managed to get the club’s Fixed Deposits (FDs) to Rs 130 core,” said Malhotra who added, “we are well prepared for the elections, in fact, I predict a landslide victory for the current team in power. Our big plus, has been accessibility to members, we are always approachable,” explained Malhotra who is part of the `Action Group’ as the committee is called.

Jay Choraria, part of a group called the ‘United Front’ which is opposing the Action Group, scoffs at Malhotra’s financially robust and accessible claim. The United Front representatives have called a meeting of members today evening at the Jade Garden in Worli, for Choraria says, “a seminar on looking at the financial instability of the club.” Another representative says, “it is a, ‘coffee with United Front’ (chai pe charcha) Modi style meet, from 6 pm to 8 pm.

While things may get heated somewhat on Sunday, expect temperatures to rival the mercury on February 21 Tuesday, when the club’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) is to be held, and uncomfortable questions are sure to be asked.

Et tu CCI?
The Cricket Club of India (CCI) member base was surprised to receive an email recently, clarifying about a report that had appeared in a newspaper on Feb 8. The email signed by secretary N K Jha warned members about a blatantly ‘misleading and factually incorrect piece’. The piece which had named several clubs was about how several clubs across the city have to accede to giving membership to civil and government officials, or ‘invite’ action on them. It has quotes from CCI president Kekoo Nicholson too. The email by Jha says that the club held an emergency meeting on February 10 following the piece, and taken a serious view of the “mischievous attempt to drive a wedge between the club and the senior Govt officials... etc. etc.”

Not taking any sides, we simply wonder whether a new front has opened up in club’s controversies. Now that clubs and their functioning is big news for papers, will these facilities start sending clarifications to members about reports? It may well be in the unfolding saga of club reportage.

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