The Mumbai Cricket Association has debarred senior official Ratnakar Shetty from taking part in the association’s activities, including contesting elections, for five years till June 2, 2018.
Shetty has been Wilson College Gymkhana’s representative in the association since 1975, holding the positions of joint secretary, treasurer and vice-president in this period. He is currently General Manager (Game Development), BCCI.
The ban is the culmination of an internal enquiry following Shetty’s allegations at the MCA’s annual general meeting on March 22, that the association’s money was misused to buy tickets for a third party for the Twenty20 match between India and Pakistan at Ahmedabad in December 2012.
Strangely, the MCA has not issued a press release announcing the ban.
According to Shetty, the MCA had reserved 150 tickets with the Gujarat Cricket Association, and issued a demand draft for Rs. 1.50 lakh, although two tickets were bought by managing committee member Ganesh Iyer. Subsequently the MCA requested the GCA to hand over 150 tickets to Shapath Shah of Ahmedabad, and received a personal cheque for Rs. 1.50 lakh from Jayveer Shah, a resident of Mumbai.
The question Shetty asked at the AGM was: “Why was the Mumbai Cricket Association’s money used for alleged black marketing of tickets in Ahmedabad?”
In a note addressed to Shetty, dated June 3, 2013, the association’s joint-secretaries P.V. Shetty and Nitin Dalal said that he had brought disrepute to the association by making false and baseless allegations. This, the note said, had tarnished the character of the office-bearers and managing committee members, and hurt the MCA’s image.
Reacting to the MCA, Shetty said: “This is a personal vendetta by people who want to make sure that I do not contest the next elections. Their egos were hurt after the two anti-club resolutions proposed by the managing committee had to be taken back by the chairman. He sensed the mood of the house after I raised the issue on behalf of the members. I will fight this kind of undemocratic decisions, both within the association and legally.’’
After the AGM, MCA president Ravi Savant had issued a show-cause notice, asking Shetty to provide proof of the allegations of black-marketing.
“I denied the charge that I had levelled allegations of black-marketing against the office bearers or managing committee members,” said Shetty. “I don’t think it is wrong to raise the issue of misuse of MCA funds, which pertains to governance of the MCA, and this certainly cannot be construed as bringing disrepute to the association. I had raised the same issue at the BCCI’s working committee, and this was supported by each and every member present, including the MCA president. The working committee unanimously decided to reduce the quota for sister associations in the same zone to 30 tickets (from 150 tickets), and for other associations in India to 10 tickets.”
According to the BCCI guidelines, the host association has to provide 350 tickets to sister associations in the same zone for any international match.