Kolkata: Former BCCI president Biswanath Dutt, best known in Indian cricket fraternity as Jagmohan Dalmiya’s mentor, passed away Monday after suffering from acute lung infection. Dutt was the BCCI president in 1989 after a six-year stint as the vice-president of the parent body from 1982-88.
He was 92. He 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. His passed away at our (Bhowanipore) residence at 4.07am this morning. He would have turned 93 on October 10,” his son Dutta told PTI.
One of the most revered administrators of Kolkata Maidan both in football and cricket, Dutt is known to have played an instrumental role in getting a young Dalmiya under his aegis as a Cricket Association of Bengal treasurer in 1977. In fact, Dalmiya till he was alive always acknowledged that he had learnt the ropes of cricket administration from Dutt.
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 also their business unit is dealing in education related verticals. Having served IFA in different capacities in his tenure from 1963-1975, Dutt began his career in cricket administration as CAB secretary in 1977 and became president in 1982, a post he held till 1986.