By Venkatachari Jagannathan
Chennai, Dec 13 | In a set back to All India Chess Federation (AICF) President P.R. Venketrama Raja, the Central government on Friday directed to cancel the urgent general body meeting called by him here on December 14.
The government also warned AICF of suspension or withdrawal of the recognition accorded to it.
In a letter to Raja on Friday, the Ministry of Youth and Sports Affairs said: “It has been observed that a meeting has been called by the President on 14.12.2019 and by the Secretary on 22.12.2019 with almost the same agenda.”
“As the matter relating to financial irregularities in conduct of national championship and forged signatures are to discussed, the Ministry will depute an observer for the meeting.
“The meeting proposed to be convened by the President, AICF, on 14.12.2019 may be cancelled and meeting may be held on 22.12.2019 as scheduled by Secretary, AICF, so that Government observer is able to attend the meeting,” the letter noted.
“In case, the directions of the Ministry are not complied with and there is an attempt to suppress the complaints regarding financial irregularities, the Government will take a serious view in the matter, warranting action for suspension/de-recognition of the Federation by the Ministry,” it added.
With this development, the first round in the fight between Raja and AICF Secretary Bharat Singh Chauhan seems to have ended in the latter’s favour.
Earlier in the day, chess players were deliberating whether there will be a check mate or a stale mate at the general body meeting scheduled to be held here on Saturday or the fight would be adjourned.
The urgent meeting was called by Raja on December 7 mainly to pre-empt the special meeting of the AICF general body called by Chauhan to be held on December 22 in Gurugram.
The agenda listed by Chauhan in the notice of the general body called by him includes exploring the possibilities of early elections in the AICF; discuss and decide on the mala fide show cause notice issued by Raja to Chauhan; discuss and decide about the letter from Sports Authority of India (SAI) and to adopt chess in school projects as proposed by Chauhan.
The main agenda of the urgent meeting called by Raja, who also heads the $1 billion turnover industrial conglomerate Ramco Group, was to discuss and decide on the show cause notice issued to Chauhan and appropriate resolution to be passed after deciding on the show cause notice.
The meeting will also deliberate matters relating to Bengal Chess Association (BCA) and the resignation of AICF Joint Secretary Atanu Lahiri (who is also the Secretary of BCA).
The camps belonging to both the warring factions are confident of majority votes backing them.