Mumbai School Sports Association(MSSA) At The Centre Of Mud-Slinging Match As Allegations Of Illegal Operations, Misappropriation Of Funds Mounts

Mumbai School Sports Association(MSSA) At The Centre Of Mud-Slinging Match As Allegations Of Illegal Operations, Misappropriation Of Funds Mounts

The Mumbai School Sports Association launched cricketers like Sunil Gawaskar, Sachin Tendulkar and Vinod Kambli through its prestigious Harris Shield and Giles Shield tournaments.

Dhairya GajaraUpdated: Tuesday, April 30, 2024, 01:40 PM IST
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MSSA | FPJ

The Mumbai School Sports Association and its chairman Father Jude Rodrigues have been accused of operating without registering with the charity commissioner, illegally occupying a part of Azad Maidan, and accepting donations for personal use of committee members. 

The allegations were made by Gaurav Sharma, who is popularly known as ‘Spiderman’ for scaling high-rise buildings. At a press meet on Monday, Sharma said the “fake” organisation is endangering the future of children of Mumbai. The association, in turn, accused Sharma of trying to hijack the organisation.

The Mumbai School Sports Association launched cricketers like Sunil Gawaskar, Sachin Tendulkar and Vinod Kambli through its prestigious Harris Shield and Giles Shield tournaments. 

Sharma said the association was originally called Bombay High School Athletic Association but the name has not been officially changed. He alleged that its chairman has syphoned crores of rupees in the name of conducting sports activities for children.

Allegations of Financial Irregularities And Mismanagement Surface Against Mumbai School Sports Association

As per the long list of allegations, the association’s inspection report by the charity commissioner reveals that Rs14 crore received in donation and grants has been wiped off from the body’s bank account. Fr Rodrigues has also been accused of buying two acres of land in Manori for Rs90 lakh in his and secretary Esmero Figardo’s names and paid Rs2 crore from the association’s fund. Sharma also alleged that IPL team Mumbai Indians stopped its Rs7 crore grant to the association after the latter failed to present the balance records and develop more facilities at the ground.

Sharma said, “Three ministers have held the office since I have been writing to the government but none of them are interested in working for sports. The charity commissioner prepared the report two years ago but has not taken any action. The police and charity commissioner think that Rodrigues is a good person only because he is a priest but he has offered me Rs70 lakh to remain quiet. If there is no action, he might flee the country before he is booked.” 

Fr Rodrigues Responds With Counter-Allegations And Clarifications

The Free Press Journal contacted Fr Rodrigues, who refuted the allegations and made counter allegations against Sharma. He also alleged that Sharma got two organisations registered with identical names of Bombay High School Athletic Association and Mumbai School Sports Association in Pune and Mumbai.

Fr Rodrigues said, “All the allegations made against us of being a fake organisation are based on the guidelines for a trust, whereas we are registered as a society. The companies Sharma has registered are under the names of his relatives; this way he is trying to hijack our association. He is not even our member and has made a forged identity card. He does not belong to the school, which he claims to be representing.”

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