Former BCCI president Biswanath Dutt passes away

Former BCCI president Biswanath Dutt passed away on Monday morning following prolonged illness. 

Former BCCI president Biswanath Dutt passes away
File Image (Courtesy: Reuters)

Former BCCI president Biswanath Dutt passed away on Monday morning following prolonged illness. 

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) condoled his death in a media statement.

Dutt was 93 and had been suffering from acute lung infection. Dutt is survived by his daughter and son Subrata Dutta, who is the senior vice-president of All India Football Federation.

"His illness began with urinary tract infection on September 10. In a week's time, his lungs got severely infected with fluid accumulation and couldn't recover anymore. He passed away at our (Bhowanipore) residence at 4.07am this morning. He would have turned 93 on October 10," his son Dutta told PTI.

He was elected as the BCCI president for a one-year term from 1988-89 to 1989-90, BCCI said in the statement. 

Lauding Dutt, BCCI further said that he was an efficient administrator committed to help cricketers and build the profile of the game. 
Dutt also served as the secretary and chief of the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB).

Dutt also served as the Board’s vice-president from 1980-81 to 1987-88 (barring the 1981-82 season) before being appointed the BCCI president. 

He is best known in the cricket administration for his mentorship to Jagmohan Dalmiya. 

During his tenure as CAB secretary, Dutt appointed Dalmiya as treasurer of the association and it was there that his journey as one of the best administrators took shape.

Remembering how Dalmiya caught his attention in his first meeting at the Calcutta High Court in early 1970s, Dutt had said: "There was some dispute in the IFA first division league, and Dalmiya moved High Court challenging IFA's decision. He was an outstanding speaker and he almost convinced the judge in their favour."

However, the relationship between mentor and his protege was soured during the 1990 BCCI elections when Dalmiya supported the candidature of senior Congress leader late Madhavrao Scindia.

In one of the most acrimonious BCCI elections to have been ever fought in Kolkata (close second would be 2004), Scindia defeated Dutt, who then retired from active sports administration.

But Dalmiya known for his legendary persuasive powers mend fences with his Guru during later years.

However, his influence in Kolkata maidan was unquestionable and legend has it that Dutt at one point of time had influence over almost 30 clubs in the first and second division.

Whenever there would be an election at the Cricket Association of Bengal, Dalmiya would visit his 'Bishu da' (as he was fondly known in Maidan circles) for hi "blessings".

In Kolkata maidan terminology, Dutt's blessings with a candidate meant that voters (member clubs) will not cast their vote anywhere else. 

"It's a huge loss for me personally. Our families share a completely different bond. He was a father figure for entire Kolkata Maidan," Dalmiya's son Avishek, who is CAB joint-secretary told PTI in his condolence message.

Former AIFF secretary Ashoke Ghosh, who was instrumental in India hosting the then coveted Nehru Gold Cup international tournament also began his career him as assistant secretary in Indian Football Association when Dutt was the secretary in 1976.

Dutt's younger brother Pradyot Dutta also became an IFA secretary and later his son Subrata, who is now one of the most influential AIFF official.

The Dutt family's original club is George Telegraph, which is also their business unit dealing in education-related verticals.

(With PTI inputs)