Sports Minister Ansari is New Boss of Scam-plagued JKCA  



Imran Ansari

The scam-plagued Jammu and Kashmir Cricket Association (JKCA) got a new boss Monday when the incumbent sports minister in the PDP-BJP coalition government, Imran Raza Ansari replaced the ageing patron of National Conference Dr Farooq Abdullah as its new president.

Besides Ansari, Mehboob Iqbal—the ex-bureaucrat-turned-politician facing corruption charges—has been elected as new chairman.

The new body was elected after 44 of total 64 JKCA members attended the meeting. Despite the boycott of “pro-Abdullah” group, Iqbal Shah was elected new JKCA General Secretary, Abdul Rauf treasurer, Mohammad Ashraf  joint secretary while Javed Kitab new vice chairman.

Notably, for the last few years, JKCA is under scanner for misappropriation of Rs 113.66 crore (including bank interest) received from BCCI between April 2002 and December 2011. Instead of utilizing funds on development of infrastructure, they allegedly swindled the money to live a lavish lifestyle. Eventually, BCCI stopped funding and it cost the game at a time when many state players were pitching for a takeoff.

The scam surfaced in March 2012 after JKCA’s treasurer Manzoor Wazir filed a police complaint against former office-bearers, Mohammad Saleem Khan (former general secretary) and Ahsan Mirza (former treasurer).

What shocked everyone was the list of around 50 individuals, submitted by the SDPO Nehru Park in its detailed report (now flood-drenched), listing them as beneficiaries of “interest free loans” given by the JKCA. Beneficiaries were either office-bearers of JKCA or their acquaintances.

Meanwhile Abdullah has termed Monday’s meeting “illegal” and called for a separate meeting on 24 July to challenge the outcome of today’s meeting.

Earlier, the inability of PDP-BJP coalition government to act against the tainted JKCA bosses sparked off speculations that some in the governing structure see the cricket crisis an opportunity to get into JKCA. With Ansari and Mehboob Iqbal (both PDP men) walking away with prized posts, the speculations seem to have finally settled.


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