The absence of transparent tender processes, the large number of complimentary tickets distributed, the presence of ineligible office bearers, and problems with vendor contracts were among the issues highlighted by the BCCI observer Ratnakar Shetty against the Hyderabad Cricket Association (HCA), which hosted the one-off India-Bangladesh Test in February.
The HCA had conducted elections on January 17 after deciding to comply with the Supreme Court-approved Lodha Committee recommendations, but was asked by the court to withhold the results because it was hearing a petition filed by the incumbent HCA secretary John Manoj.
On February 6, three days before the Test against Bangladesh, the court asked the BCCI to appoint an observer to "monitor the conduct" of the fixture by the HCA office bearers. Shetty arrived in Hyderabad the following day and told the state association that all financial expenses would need his approval as per the court order.
The HCA, however, had already issued tenders for various services needed during the Test, and though Shetty said the state officials had co-operated to make the match "successful", there were several issues he had to bring to the court's attention.
At various places in his three-page report, which was submitted to the Hyderabad High Court on February 24, Shetty said he had been left speechless by the lack of accountability from the HCA administration.
"It was observed that the tendering process followed by HCA is far from being transparent. Most contracts had one vendor bidding and in some cases no bids were called," Shetty said. "There is one vendor by the name M/s. Sanjay Maintenance contracts by HCA aggregating to a payment of approximately Rs. 10,00,000 (10 lakhs) per month and yet the same vendor has been given separate contracts for the similar scope of work for match days.
"The Interim President himself [Narender Goud] handpicked an agency for ticketing without any tender. One of the Joint Secretaries was involved with the award of contract for buses and cares for the teams and match officials. There was only one tender and quotations were called for use of vehicles for 24 hours - something which is unheard of."
Despite the Lodha Committee's recommendations limiting the number of complimentary tickets issued, Shetty found that the HCA had distributed "more than 25% of tickets" as complimentary.
"The total number of complimentary tickets issued by HCA was around 11,500 in a total capacity of 39,000 seats," Shetty said in his report. "It was observed that the HCA office bearers and the executive committee members are more keen to protect their own vote banks by giving free tickets with buffet lunch to the members. Almost 50% of the catering bills are towards the members and officials (each club gets five passes in the main pavilion, with lunch). They are not interested in ensuring that the HCA makes profit during an international match. The total expenses for food alone was approximately to the tune of Rs. 75,00,000 (75 lakhs)."
Another concern for Shetty was the involvement of ineligible state office bearers in the organisation of the match. The Supreme Court of India had stated that no office bearer who had finished nine years in the job was eligible to continue in the role.
"However, Mr. Syed Moizuddin, the former Vice President who demitted office was actively involved in the tendering process and aware of contracts for the Test match," Shetty reported.
He also said there had been "absolutely no check" on the expenditure for catering. "Take for example, the Inspector of Police certified food bills for 2000 policemen every day of the Test Match. Even the Police Commissioner was surprised when I showed him the note."