5-year ban on Ratnakar Shetty too harsh: Ajit Wadekar

Ajit Wadekar, the former vice-president of Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA), termed yesterday’s five-year ban on Prof Ratnakar Shetty as harsh.

“I don’t know the details of the issue, but for a mere allegation, the punishment is quite harsh. Perhaps, he could have been reprimanded,” Wadekar told MiD DAY after the seasoned administrator’s punishment became official.

Ajit Wadekar (left) with Prof Ratnakar Shetty (right). PIC/AFP

 Shetty, who has served the association as secretary, treasurer and vice-president, was banned by the MCA for his alleged accusations against some MCA office-bearers for being involved in black marketing of 150 tickets of the India vs Pakistan T20 tie in last December at Ahmedabad.

At the association’s AGM on March 22, Shetty revealed that MCA sent a request for its quota of tickets to the Gujarat Cricket Association that hosted the game. Apparently, the Saurashtra Cricket Association used those tickets, Shetty had said, stressing that these tickets were meant for MCA members only and not for others. He also questioned why the money was not paid in advance which is a norm.

Although stern action was expected, the five-year ban was received with surprise among the Mumbai cricket fraternity. Shetty told MiD DAY that he will challenge the MCA’s decision. “Of course, I will challenge it in court. There is no doubt about it,” he said.

Earlier, an internal probe by MCA did not reveal anything. The MCA then issued a showcause notice against Shetty. But he denied making the “black marketing” allegation against MCA office-bearers. Before the ban came into effect, Shetty was given an additional two weeks to listen the recordings of the Annual General Meeting where he made the allegation. Shetty stayed firm on his view after listening to the tape.

Though the decision to ban Shetty was taken in the last managing committee meeting on May 28, the officials took “extra precaution” before handing out the sentence. “We have secured all areas and there is no chance that he can get a stay order. We have consulted various legal experts and carefully gone through the details of the case before arriving at this decision,” an MCA official revealed.

Contrary views
However, an MCA member, who is well-versed with the MCA constitution, said the managing committee has no power to ban a member. “Decisions on banning a member can only take place in the general body,” he said. Another MCA official countered this view: “Of course, the managing committee has powers to ban anyone.”

Meanwhile, MCA president Ravi Savant was quoted as saying to PTI that the ban would not prevent Shetty, who is employed with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), from entering the association’s premises. “We have not prevented him from earning his bread and butter,” said Savant.

Shetty, who was a chemistry teacher at Wilson College, made his entry into the MCA in 1985 as a sub-committee member. He made a substantial progress in administration and was also the BCCI’s Jt Honorary secretary for a while. He has also been manager of the Indian team on a couple of occasions. Shetty was the tournament director for the 2011 ICC World Cup.

Prof Shetty says…
I have raised an issue at the AGM of the Association pertaining to the misuse of MCA funds and have done nothing wrong. This is a personal vendetta by people who want to make sure that I do not contest the next elections and also because their ego was hurt that the two anti club resolutions proposed by the managing committee had to be taken back by the Chairman after he sensed the mood of the house after I raised the issue on behalf of the members. I will fight this kind of undemocratic decisions both within the association and legally. 

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