Agartala, February 08, 2024: The Crime Branch of Tripura police has registered a case against 10 former executives of the Tripura Cricket Association (TCA) for allegedly embezzling around Rs 10 crore from the cricket body’s fund. The case was filed on Wednesday night, a week before the scheduled election for the new apex council of the TCA.
The accused include the former secretary, vice president, treasurer, executive engineer, assistant engineer, and apex council member of the TCA, as well as the zonal sales manager of a Kolkata-based company and two others of a lighting solution firm. They have been booked under sections 120(B), 409, and 420 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
According to Additional Superintendent of Police (Crime) Piya Madhuri Majumder, the case was based on the prima facie evidence of the allegations of corruption in the TCA during the 2022–23 and 2023–24 financial years. The complaints pertained to the installation of LED floodlights in an upcoming cricket stadium, which reportedly cost a loss of more than Rs 7 crore to the TCA. The police said that the accused persons dishonestly and fraudulently misappropriated a huge amount from the TCA in the execution of the project, and also indulged in several other financial irregularities.
The TCA has been mired in controversies and factionalism for the last five years, leading to the intervention of the High Court of Tripura, which ordered an inquiry by a Special Investigation Team (SIT) into the allegations of corruption. The court also directed the outgoing committee of the TCA to step down and initiate the election process for the new apex council.
However, the election, which is slated to be held on February 15, has sparked a fresh row after the enrollment of Amit Rakshit, the state general secretary of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), in the electoral roll. Rakshit’s candidature has reportedly violated the party’s decision to keep its portfolio holders away from the TCA functioning, in line with the recommendations of the Justice Lodha panel to prevent political interference in sports.
Rakshit’s entry into the TCA fray has also indicated a factional fight in the state BJP against the Chief Minister, according to some party insiders. They claimed that Rakshit has been backed by the accused persons of the previous committee, who are trying to avoid an election and secure some seats in the new apex council. They also alleged that Rakshit has been misusing his political position to garner votes in his favour and threatening the voters with dire consequences.
A BJP state executive said that the party has a policy of one post for one individual, and that the Chief Minister had resigned from the TCA after becoming the party president. He said that the direct involvement of the frontline party functionary in the TCA was not evident until Rakshit’s nomination. He urged the party leadership to take action against Rakshit for violating the party’s decision and tarnishing its image.