MCA scraps panel report on unsold World Cup final tickets
Mumbai: Slamming the constitution of the probe committee on the issue of unsold tickets during the 2011 World Cup final here, the newly-elected Mumbai Cricket Association president Sharad Pawar wanted the "unfair" report be rejected at the association`s AGM on Friday.
Outgoing president Ravi Savant, who chaired the AGM, accepted Pawar`s view and said the report will be scrapped.
Pawar questioned committee`s formation, asking how Ravi Mandrekar, who had complained about the matter, could be a member of the panel.
"If you have to enquire a particular complaint, the complainant himself should not be a member of the inquiry committee. It is totally unfair," said Pawar.
"I have not seen the entire report, but I have seen that out of four members only one member has signed. When only one member signs, it is not a report but the finding of one gentleman," Pawar added.
MCA has already stated that it never got receipt of the report that was published by a local newspaper which claimed they were the findings of the inquiry commitee.
"I am not aware whether it has been officially received by MCA. But the issue was not even discussed in the MCA managing committee and if these types of reactions go to the media, the intention seems to be just to defame and it is unfair," said Pawar, who was MCA chief when the final between India and Sri Lanka was held on April 2 at Wankhede Stadium.
"This report should be totally rejected. It is a question of unsold tickets and, that is why, I think we should not go into it again and again. The allegation was wrong. The report was not correct. That is why this committee should reject this report and close this chapter here," he said.
A cornered Savant meekly accepted Pawar`s suggestion, but defended the MCA by saying the report was received only the next day after the news article was published.
"It wasn`t officially received by MCA till the article came. The next day there was an email from Mandrekar attaching that report, sent to the MCA," Savant said.
Tickets for the summit clash were hot property and 400 of those were unsold, though `sold out` notice boards had been put up at the ticket counters, which prompted MCA to form the special probe committee, comprising three lawyers - Avinash Rana, Vivek Katawala and Deepak Thakare - and former MCA official Mandrekar. Rana headed it.
The probe report published in the newspaper also took to task Professor Ratnakar Shetty, currently the BCCI General Manager (Game Development), who was the tournament director for the World Cup and then MCA treasurer.
Speaking at the AGM, Shetty said he too was surprised by Mandrekar`s inclusion. "When I went (to depose) before the inquiry committee, I was surprised to see the name of Ravi Mandrekar in the list of its members. Mandrekar was one of the complainants in this case. At the AGM of 2012, he was the one who had asked for a resolution to inquire into the unsold tickets. Now how could a complainant become an inquiry member.
"Recently the entire report of this inquiry committee was leaked to a newspaper. Damaging comments are there about some of us in that article. I want to know what action you are going to take in this case?
"The report, if I have read correctly, is sham because there is no logic in that report. The only aim was to defame us. The easiest way to get away from us was to set up an enquiry committee or expel us from MCA. I have arrived at that conclusion," Shetty said.
He added that he had submitted his report about the matter of unsold tickets to the late Vilasrao Deshmukh, the then MCA president.
"I had submitted a report to the then president late Vilasrao Deshmukh on July 7, 2012. I was called for inquiry on June 15, 2013. For the World Cup final of 2011, tickets were sold at a premium.
"We could have made a crore by selling those tickets but we did not do that because there was no mechanism for selling those tickets. There was no window sale for that World Cup final," Shetty said.
He also said he and Shripad Halbe, who was in charge of the ticket sales, were surprised to find that 120 tickets had been collected by managing committee members out of a total of 525 unsold tickets when they returned after watching the India-Pakistan semi final at Mohali.
"When the accounts were checked after we returned from Mohali we found 525 tickets were in balance as of March 31, 2011 and were surprised that 120 tickets had been taken by managing committee members," said Shetty.
The senior administrator said this happened because the tickets were not sold over the counter in a transparent manner.
"If there had been a proper system of selling those tickets in a transparent manner, they would not have been hijacked by a few of us.
"We (he and Halbe) were honest enough to seal those tickets. Even after that a report signed by one person says it is a loss to the association, which is unfair to us," said Shetty.