In India politics and sports are kissing cousins, what with netas predominating federations and associations that claim to champion sporting pursuit. With the committee elections at Mumbai’s popular National Sports Club of India (NSCI) a few weeks away, a controversy concerning the organisation’s secretary has raised a few eyebrows – considering the charges levelled against him, the subsequent action of the management, and, of course, the timing of the allegation.
On March 17, news spread at the club that its secretary Jaisingh Choraria had molested a woman inside the club’s bar room. On March 19, 26 members made a demand in writing (copy available with MiD DAY) that Choraria be suspended. A delegation of more than 30 members also met club president BC Chawla and demanded action against Choraria. Two delegated woman members (names withheld) also alleged that Choraria tried to molest them on other occasions, but they kept mum.
The same day, Chawla suspended Choraria. However, the latter was reinstated four days later. Meanwhile, Choraria sent a defamation notice to the 26 club members who had demanded action against him. Then, on April 11, the management debarred two members — Dr Nichani for six months, and Shilpa Ahuja for three months — who were at the forefront of the campaign against Choraria.“We have been suspended. We do not want to talk more on the issue. We will fight against this in our own way,” Nichani and Ahuja told MiD DAY.
Several other members expressed dismay when they heard about the suspension of Nichani and Ahuja. “Dr Nichani is now being targeted and victimised by the management, as he is going to be a star campaigner in the coming elections on May 20. Justice will prevail in the court,” said an associate. “We are members of the club and the safety of our wives and daughters is of prime importance. No one can be permitted to behave indecently towards woman members,” said a senior member.
The other side
“The inquiry committee gave a report that Dr Nichani and Ahuja had made a plan to defame Choraria. We suspended them. We had also initially suspended Choraria,” said Bipin Mehta, chairman of NSCI. “The allegation was false. The committee elections are coming up. So the opposition is making up such accusations. Everyone knows that I have done a lot of good work for the club,” said Choraria.