Chennai, November 28: In a shocking development, the Sports Authority of India (SAI) has asked the All India Chess Federation (AICF) to refund Rs 10 lakh, alleging that the utilisation certification submitted by the latter was a forged document. The SAI in its letter dated November 26 has asked the AICF President to set up a three-member enquiry committee to probe the issue and submit a report. AICF to Probe Bengal Chess Association Affairs.
That apart, the SAI has also asked AICF to submit the details of all national championships held since 2014, including the host unit, amount sanctioned by SAI and whether funds sanctioned by SAI were diverted to third party other than the state chess federation to conduct such championships.
According to SAI, it had received the bills from AICF relating to the 44th National Sub-Junior and 35th National Sub-Junior Girls' Chess Championships held in West Bengal from July 17-25, 2018.
"Based on a complaint received, the matter was examined as such clarification was sought from M/s Asraful Islam & Co, Chartered Accountants, which has supposedly signed the Utilisation Certificate (UC) of AICF. In response, M/s Asraful Islam & Co replied that the UC submitted by AICF is false and the seal and signature does not belong to them," SAI said in the letter to the AICF Secretary. The SAI has asked AICF to send its reply by November 29, 2019.
"We get the accounts from the state chess federation to whom the funds were allocated and forward it to SAI. We have no reason to distrust our state federation office bearers. The accounts of AICF are maintained at its headquarters in Chennai. I have asked them to have it ready so that the response could be sent to SAI," AICF Secretary Bharat Singh Chauhan told IANS over phone from New Delhi.
He said the national chess championships referred by SAI were conducted by the Bengal Chess Association (BCA). When contacted, chartered accountant Asraful Islam told IANS: "My signature and seal has been forged. I have told the same to SAI when they contacted me for verification."
Reacting to the development, International Master (IM) and BCA Secretary Atanu Lahiri told IANS: "The accounts and audit matters of BCA were handled by the Treasurer. I have no reason to suspect any of the BCA office bearers. On receipt of the necessary documents, they were forwarded to AICF."
"I welcome a detailed probe into the issue. The probe should also look at the motive behind this allegation. The motives could be (a) to trap me in a criminal case (b) malign me and spoil my name. Who will benefit from this should also be probed," Lahiri added.
According to him, Asraful Islam & Co were not the regular auditors of BCA.
"The BCA's regular auditors are different. But as they were busy, there were some delay in our accounts getting prepared. We had planned to change our auditors," Lahiri said.