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MSSA attacked, then hit back at allegations

Updated on: 30 April,2024 07:15 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Hemal Ashar |

“I am a member of the so-called MSSA. It is not registered with the Charity Commissioner’s office,” he began

MSSA attacked, then hit back at allegations

Gaurav Sharma speaks out at a press conference yesterday. Pic/Sameer Markande

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MSSA attacked, then hit back at allegations

Mumbai resident Gaurav Sharma earned the label of Spiderman because of his feats of scaling tall buildings, perching on windows or protuberances on the façade, dressed like Spidey.  On Monday though, Sharma found a lower perch at Mumbai Press Club at Azad Maidan to slam what he claimed was a “big scam” by the Mumbai Schools Sports Association (MSSA). Citing numerous irregularities, the activist said a concerted clean up effort must begin, “so that the future of more than 70,000 Mumbai children in school sport is not endangered.” “I am a member of the so-called MSSA. It is not registered with the Charity Commissioner’s office,” he began.

Money matters

He pointed that Fr Jude Rodrigues, president of MSSA and other office bearers are, “hiding information regarding bank account, FDs, properties etc. An inspector’s  report through RTI showed that in 2016-17 MSSA got Rs 14cr as donations and grants, but in the year 2018, the balance remaining was R8,26,000 only. Rest of the 13 crore, 91 lakhs 74 thousand rupees were siphoned off.”

Also Read: T20 World Cup 2024: Ravi Bishoni hopeful of Indian squad's selection

Fr Jude
Fr Jude

Car controversy

He added: “Father Jude Rodrigues and team are in illegal possession of the entire ground as the lease is over in  2016 and as per rule, the government should take back the possession of the ground. “Father Jude  purchased a new Bolero to be converted into an ambulance which can be used for children in emergency during sports, but the Bolero is used for Fr Rodrigues’s personal use and we still don’t have any ambulance on the ground. The kids are taken in taxi to hospital in an emergency.” 

Child labour

Sharma added, “In  2017 with the help of police, I had rescued a child from MSSA who was forced to clean toilets and do housekeeping work for -Father Jude and team,” attaching an FIR copy as proof. Sharma claimed during the interactive session, peppered with ‘dhongi baba’ accusations, slamming Fr Rodrigues and other office bearers that, “this is a cry for justice. I request Shri Eknath ji Shinde who himself is a sports lover should come ahead and give directions to the charity commission office and Mumbai police to file FIR against Father Jude and team and recover public money and property which they are occupying illegally.”

The blackmailer

The MSSA hit back, stating that Sharma is not a member of the MSSA and never was. “He is notorious, a fraudster, extortionist and trying to blackmail MSSA. He has no source of income and perhaps relies on bullying people for his personal gain. Often, he has come drunk to the MSSA premises, threatening the MSSA watchmen and children for which we have given police complaints.” 

Audit done

The MSSA’s Hon Jt Secretary Joseph Monteiro, said in a communication on behalf of the schools body that, “The MSSA is registered under the Society Registration Act 1860. As alleged that crores of rupees were received as donations and grants is not true. The report of the Charity Comm Inspector does not show crores of rupees. But this Gaurav Sharma has added zeroes to mislead the media and general public at large. MSSA has been regularly filing the audited statement of accounts before the  competent authorities right from its inception.” On the lease accusation, the schools body said, “the MSSA ground was given to MSSA for the conduct of various games, the lease for the ground was given on a long-term basis and the same is pending before the competent authorities.” 

The ambulance

On the Bolero front, the MSSA stated, “A jeep is purchased by the Association for the multi-purpose use of the Association and it is kept at the Association premises. However, a St John Ambulance is also used as and when required by the Association.” The MSSA claimed that “child labour” was, “never employed by the MSSA but had been planted by Sharma himself.”

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