The first round matches of the ICC World Twenty20 began today, with Delhi as one of the venues of the main round. However, given the problems plaguing the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA), the governing body for cricket in the city, this could not have come at a more unfortunate time. Amidst growing accusations of corruption, over 100-odd employees of the organisation have gone on indefinite strike, and a Delhi High Court has vacated a stay order, calling for the demolition of a structure at the Ferozeshah Kotla stadium in Delhi.
In May 2012, former cricketer and Member of Parliament Kirti Azad wrote to the then-minister of state for corporate affairs, RPN Singh, complaining of the “accounting mess” within the DDCA. In December last year, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) issued a one-line statement stating that Azad had been suspended for “anti-party activities.” The cricket association, led by current Finance Minister Arun Jaitley for 14 years (1999-2013), had “suffered from scores of infraction of rules, procedure, fiscal indiscipline, misgovernance, maladministration, and siphoning away of funds from the coffers of DDCA,” claimed Azad.
Part of this can be attributed to the lack of transparency with which the organisation has been managed. Those unfamiliar with the opacity behind which the DDCA operates do not realise the huge benefits they enjoy by gifting free match tickets, said Pramod Jain, a DDCA member for over 30 years. “They give them to a variety of people—politicians, ministers, lawyers, judges, the police, municipal corporation, and MTNL, etc—to either build or consolidate their personal relations that come in handy when they need these people for their personal work.” Jain then told me of a DDCA functionary who had gotten the building of a middle school run by him extended without the mandatory approvals from the municipal and fire departments.