Kolkata, May 5 (PTI) An under-pressure All India Football Federation on Thursday asked entrepreneur Ranjit Bajaj to substantiate his allegation of molestation of women employees against general secretary Kushal Das with "proper documentary evidence" within 15 days.
The decision to ask evidence from Bajaj was taken at an executive committee meeting here after the AIFF was put under immense pressure on several fronts, including the charges against Das as well as its refusal to hold elections even after the end of tenure of the current dispensation.
"...it has been unanimously decided that the AIFF write a letter to Mr. Ranjit Bajaj to substantiate his aspersions and allegations against Mr. Kushal Das, General Secretary, AIFF, with proper documentary evidence within fifteen (15) days, failing which the AIFF shall take appropriate action as it deems fit and proper," the AIFF said in a statement.
Bajaj, who owned former I-League club Minerva Punjab FC, last month alleged that Das molested employees at workplace, a charge that was outrightly rejected by the AIFF with their integrity officer Javed Siraj giving Das a clean chit.
Earlier in the day, Bajaj lodged a complaint with the National Commission of Women against Das besides writing to FIFA and AFC's ethics committees.
The AIFF has been facing the heat of late, largely because of the delay in conducting its elections, pending since more than a year despite several members of the body expressing their opposition to it.
The AIFF, however, took umbrage of the pending case in front of the Supreme Court.
"It has been reiterated time and again that the AIFF is not in a position to hold its elections as presently the Hon'ble Supreme Court of India is seized of the matter pertaining to the amendment of the Constitution to bring the AIFF Constitution in consonance with the National Sports Code, 2011.
"The AIFF Constitution is thus, sub-judice before the Hon'ble Supreme Court." It said the Supreme Court is yet to hear the AIFF's suo motu application filed in November 2020.
"As a part of this application, the AIFF had, in order to show its earnestness, submitted before the Hon'ble Court that it shall not take any major financial or policy decisions.
"During the continuance of the matter before the Hon'ble Supreme Court of India, should the AIFF be left bereft of its President, the AIFF will essentially become defunct, and headless leading to the appointment of an administrator as per the laws, and subsequent derecognition by FIFA." The AIFF also said that it will take opinion of a senior advocate on the way forward regarding the holding of elections after the three-member committee set up earlier to look into the matter submitted its report to the General Body.
"The Committee consulted with the external legal counsel of the AIFF who opined that a move on the part of AIFF for Suo-moto amendment of its constitution followed by elections may not be viewed favourably by the Hon'ble Supreme Court." The national federation also reiterated its stand that it has not received any communication from the sports ministry or the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) on the conduct an audit of its accounts for the last four financial years for alleged financial irregularities.
"In India all organisations which are subject to Government funding can be covered under CAG audits except National Sports Federations. The CAG has expressed a view to MYAS that since NSFs get grants from the Government, they should be subject to CAG audits.
"The MYAS has not communicated anything in this regard to the NSFs. In 2021, the AIFF submitted the audited statements from 2017-18 to 2020-21 upon a request from the CAG. There has been no further communication from the CAG since then to the AIFF." On the reports of possible de-recognition of the AIFF from the sports ministry, the federation said, "The Hon'ble Delhi High Court is currently presiding on a matter dealing with whether or not the NSFs not in compliance with the National Sports Code, 2011 should get recognition of the MYAS.
"The AIFF's submissions regarding such recognition have been that since the AIFF Constitution is sub-judice before the Hon'ble Supreme Court, it would be in a position to be fully compliant only once the Hon'ble Supreme Court issues appropriate directions."