The Cricket Association of Uttarakhand (CAU) is under a storm of allegations, ranging from financial impropriety to threats against players. Reports say that the CAU has spent around Rs 1.74 Crore for food and catering, including Rs 35 lakh for bananas; Rs 49.5 lakh in daily allowances as part of their Rs 11 crore expense during the Covid lockdown.
But despite these expenses, non-payment of players’ dues; dodgy selection policies with extortion and death threats are also reported. CAU secretary Mahim Verma, the head coach Manish Jha and the association spokesperson Sanjay Gusain were also called in for questioning by the Uttarakhand Police as they were named in an FIR.
The complaint was made by the father of a former India Under-19 cricketer who had alleged the CAU for extortion and death threats. The plaintiff Virendra Sethi is the father of former Under-19 player Arya Sethi, who had alleged that his son received death threats from the team manager, Navneet Mishra and video analyst Piyush Raghuvanshi during the 2021 Vijay Hazare trophy.
The FIR has been registered at Vasant Vihar police station in Dehradun and filed under IPC sections for criminal conspiracy (120B), voluntarily causing hurt (323), extortion (384), intentional insult (504) and criminal intimidation (506).
“For the past three days, we have called Mahim Verma, Manish Jha and Sanjay Gusain separately. We have interrogated them. We have taken their statements,” Janmejaya Khanduri, SSP Dehradun, as per The Indian Express. “If needed, it will be done again.”
As per earlier reports, the players have opened up about non-payment or under-payment of dues and not being given food during tournaments and training camps. The CAU’s audit report for 31 March 2020, says that Rs 1,74,07,346 for food and catering and Rs 49,58,750 for daily allowances. This includes Rs 35 lakh for bananas and Rs 22 lakh for water bottles.
Uttarakhand outstation player Robin Bisht also confirmed Virendra Sethi’s allegations and also talked about how the players were paid less than unskilled workers. He said, “Our official DA is Rs 1,500, we were getting Rs 100 per day. We got Rs 2,700 for 27 days; an unskilled labourer earned more than us,” said Bisht.