The Bombay High Court on Friday lambasted the Board of Control for Cricket in India for not paying protection money due to the Navi Mumbai and Nagpur police for services rendered during the Indian Premier League matches in 2010 and 2011.

A Division Bench of Justices A.M. Khanwilkar and A.P. Bhangale was hearing a Public Interest Litigation petition filed by Santosh Pachalag, secretary of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s Navi Mumbai unit, seeking direction on payment of dues. For the three IPL matches played in 2010 at the Vidarbha Cricket Association’s stadium in Nagpur, the BCCI owes Rs. 2,30,33,821 to the Nagpur Rural Police and Rs. 23,22,826 to the Commissioner of Police, Nagpur.  The bill for providing police protection for the matches organised at the DY Patil Stadium at Navi Mumbai is Rs. 5,65,26,238. The BCCI has paid only Rs. 47, 53,000 to the Navi Mumbai police and, despite reminders, has not paid anything to the Nagpur police.

“We fail to understand why the issue has remained unresolved for such a long time,” said the Bench.

 “If the board had sent requisition for security, it would be primarily responsible to pay the amount as demanded, as per the extant regulations and norms by the State authorities,” the court said. The State exchequer should not be made to suffer on account of the dispute especially as security was provided at BCCI request.  Ganesh Sovani, who appeared for Mr. Pachalag, objected to the “lackadaisical attitude” of higher rank police officers in collecting the dues from the BCCI.

The court demanded to know from the Maharashtra Home department why no steps were taken to recover the dues.

Counsel for the BCCI sought an opportunity to pursue the matter with State authorities for reconsideration of the demand, and it was granted. The BCCI will have to make a representation to the Home Secretary on or before March 4.

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