Dues of ex-first class player Vilas Godbole unearthed in quiz put on hold

Updated: Jan 21, 2020, 09:56 IST | Clayton Murzello | Mumbai

Vilas Godbole, who did not know he was a first-class player till he featured in an online quiz by this correspondent, had sought retrospective pension from the MCA.

Vilas Godbole
Vilas Godbole

The Mumbai Cricket Association has stopped short of saying that it can't grant former first-class cricketer Vilas Godbole his monthly pension with retrospective effect. Godbole, 78, who played for Bombay v Ceylon in 1965, did not realise he was eligible until this writer pointed it out through a Facebook quiz in 2018.

Godbole was then coaxed by cricket consultant Dr Makarand Waingankar to approach the BCCI for a confirmation of the first-class status to the January 8-10, 1965 match held at the Brabourne Stadium.

Armed with an endorsement from the BCCI, who confirmed that the match in which he opened the batting for the city, was indeed a first-class fixture, Godbole approached the MCA, who started granting him a Rs 20,000 per month pension with effect from January 2018.

However, Godbole had also requested his state association to grant him the pension with retrospective effect–Rs 10,000 in 2006 and a revised amount of Rs 20,000 from 2014.

Godbole told mid-day that he made another request for retrospective payment early last month after being advised to do so by Justice Hemant Gokhale and Justice VM Kanade, the Committee of Administrators (CoA) who were running the MCA to ensure the association implement the Lodha recommendations.

No good news for Godbole
But Godbole was informed through a letter (dated December 20) signed by MCA Secretary Sanjay Naik and Jt Secretary Shahalam Shaikh that the Apex Council decided to continue with the decision of the previous managing committee which didn't grant Godbole his retrospective payment.

"I'm surprised to receive this kind of a response from the MCA," Godbole told mid-day, insisting that he is not hurt but surprised.

'Unanimous decision'
Meanwhile, Secretary Naik said: "It is an unanimous decision by the Apex Council. We have given him his pension from the time he had applied for it. It was the previous committee's decision. It [request for retrospective payment] was rejected by the previous committee, so we cannot uphold it or reject it. It will go to the AGM. I am not denying anything to him."

In response, Godbole remarked: "As I said, I am surprised. The MCA recently took a decision to award a pension of another first-class cricketer. He got his pension after it was denied to him. Not only this, but other important decisions like revoking of a ban, so why can't the present managing committee change the decision which concerns me?"

Godbole's son Kaushik, who is part of the Apex Council, left the room when this topic came up for discussion at the MCA. Godbole would be richer by Rs 15 to 20 lakh if at all the MCA agrees to grant him pension with retrospective effect.

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