Debt-ridden ACA gambles on hosting Ind-Aus T20
While the city is already going off the rail on hype-train post the selection of Guwahati’s Dr Bhupen Hazarika Stadium as host to one of the three T20 matches of the India-Australia series on October 10, the Assam Cricket Association (ACA), burdened with debts from its darker past, is up for a much bigger challenge post the match.
For starters, according to a governing body meeting of ACA convened in March this year, the audits conducted by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) after alleged anomalies by the former secretary Bikash Baruah surfaced, had revealed at least 47 cases of financial irregularities.
Sahajananda Ojha, a former secretary of the ACA had, in September 2015, filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) number 7/2015 in the Gauhati High Court alleging various financial anomalies conducted by the then ACA secretary Bikash Baruah following which, police had raided ACA offices and the vigilance and anti-corruption branch of Assam police grilled Baruah the same year. There were also allegations against Baruah of swindling BCCI money for constructing the stadium at Barsapara. Baruah was handed a life ban and a new governing body for ACA was formed consequently but funds from BCCI was stopped since then.
“Owing to the various anomalies during Barua’s regime and because BCCI stopped sending funds, the ACA, as of date, has a cumulative debt to the tune of Rs 65 crores,” a source in the ACA, under condition of anonymity, said.
On February 4, 2016, the Supreme Court made it compulsory for the BCCI to implement the recommendations of Justice RM Lodha Committee following which, on February 23, the Committee of Administrators (COA), running the BCCI, had written to all state cricket associations to submit compliance reports.
ACA however chose to wait and has not complied with the recommendations yet leading to non-sanction of funds from BCCI as instructed by the Supreme Court last October.
The ACA however signed the tripartite agreement (State associations, BCCI and IPL franchises) on March 30 last regarding the holding of IPL matches due to which, some opine, the BCCI had selected ACA to host one of the matches.