The controversy over the CBI searching the office of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal perfectly illustrates why politicians must not get involved with sports administration, especially cricket, which is flush with money and vulnerable to corruption. The CBI said the target of the raid was Rajendra Kumar, Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister, in connection with an old corruption case. But Kejriwal claimed the real motive behind the raid on his office was to seize a file pertaining to an investigation into corruption in the Delhi and Districts Cricket Association (DDCA).
It’s widely accepted that the DDCA is the most venal, mismanaged cricket association in the country. Earlier this month, the Test match between India and South Africa was allowed to be held there only under the supervision of a Supreme Court-appointed observer. Each state cricket association receives a funding of at least Rs 30 crore a year from the Indian cricket board (BCCI); most state associations have huge sums of money in the bank, but the DDCA is bankrupt. Its stadium was to be renovated at a cost of Rs 24 crore, but over Rs 110 crore was spent. There are allegations of corruption in the selection of the state teams, right from the junior-most level. Delhi’s Ranji Trophy players were not paid match fees for two years.
Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley was the DDCA’s president from 1999 to 2013; he continues to be the go-to man for cricket administrators needing help, and mentor to several powerful officials. Last month, the Delhi Government’s probe into the DDCA’s operations highlighted corruption and lack of transparency in its functioning. Kejriwal has insinuated that the CBI raid on his office was organised at the behest of Jaitley in order to seize files pertaining to the DDCA case. This allegation becomes credible only because Jaitley is deeply entrenched in the DDCA’s affairs, heading it for 14 years. This case demonstrates the perils of representing several interest groups – as Jaitley and other politicians who are involved in cricket do – at the same time.