DDCA secretary Vinod Tihara in Meerut jail, does not have COVID-19

Updated: Apr 23, 2020, 12:12 IST | PTI | New Delhi

The SSP's version was later corroborated by Meerut Jail Superintendent Dr B P Pandey, who gave more details on the charges against Tihara. "Vinod Tihara, a resident of Delhi's Rohini has been in Meerut jail since March 1

This picture has been used for representation purpose
This picture has been used for representation purpose

Controversial Delhi and Districts Cricket Association (DDCA) general secretary Vinod Tihara is in a Meerut jail for allegedly violating GST norms, a development which has come to light a month after he went "incommunicado" and fuelled speculation of being self-isolated with symptoms of COVID-19. "A Delhi resident named Vinod Tihara was arrested by Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) wing of Noida on March 17 on allegations of violations of GST norms and is currently in Meerut jail," SSP Meerut, Ajay Sahni, told PTI.

The SSP's version was later corroborated by Meerut Jail Superintendent Dr B P Pandey, who gave more details on the charges against Tihara. "Vinod Tihara, a resident of Delhi's Rohini has been in Meerut jail since March 17. The case no is 2/20 and he has been charged under Customs Act 132 and 135," Pandey said. Under Section 132 of Indian Customs Act, "if a person knowingly makes, signs or uses, or causes to be made, signed or used, any false declaration, statement or document in the transaction of any business relating to the customs, he shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to 2 years, or with fine, or with both."

Under section 135, there are multiple clauses and sub clauses dealing with "misdeclaration, fradulent evasion and carrying, concealing or purchasing goods which are liable to confiscation." There was no immediate clarity on the exact violation Tihara has been accused of committing. Tihara is Delhi cricket's representative at the BCCI and an influential figure in state's cricket body. He had been "unreachable" since mid-March leaving DDCA officials, including members of his faction, flummoxed.

"For the longest time, we were under the impression that Vinod ji has tested positive for COVID-19. One or two people who contacted his family members were told that he is under isolation. His phone is switched off for the past one month," a senior DDCA office-bearer told PTI. During a recent online hearing in a matter of financial misappropriation of funds, organised by DDCA ombudsman Justice (Retd) Deepak Verma via Skype, one of the body's lawyers, known for his proximity to Tihara, told the apex council members that he had tested positive for novel coronavirus.

"We all freaked out as we had met Tihara till March 15 at various places. We told him that why weren't we informed as we all needed to quarantine ourselves. "He then changed track and said that if you people would have been COVID-19 positive, then you would have known by now. It was very suspicious," the Apex Council member who was suspended that day, said.

In fact, some of the members are now wondering how did a letter signed by Tihara in support of one of the lawyers, whose service was being terminated, was submitted to Ombudsman, when all this while he had been in jail.

It is understood that because of the lockdown, his bail plea has been deferred.

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