By Qaiser Mohammad Ali
New Delhi, Oct 3 (IANS) The Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) has stopped payment of Rs.50.19 lakh to nine lawyers, including Abhishek Manu Singhvi and Nalin Kohli, after a complaint was lodged with its General Administration Committee (GAC) headed by former Additional Solicitor General Maninder Singh.
This decision is part of a three-page office-order issued and signed by Maninder Singh and the two other members of the GAC, Sunil Yadav and Rajni Abbi. All three are Central government nominees, and were appointed as Directors on the DDCA ‘managing committee’, also called Apex Council, on September 1.
“The legal retainer of the DDCA has secured the advice of the Ld Additional Solicitor General of India. It has been opined that no unauthorised payment should be made by the DDCA and which is not inconformity with the resolution passed by the Apex Council of DDCA on 13-09-2020. It has been advised that since no authorisation was given by the committee after 13-09-2020, the fee bills in relation to any claimed appearance etc. on or after 13-09-2020 being not authorised, should not be paid by DDCA,” said the office order.
“This committee is shocked to note that the staff who were present in the Apex Council meeting dated 13-09-2020 prepared and issued cheques/cheque-books in complete violation of the resolution passed by the Apex Council of the DDCA. It has become incumbent that the cheques issued must be stopped for payment forthwith and suitable measures be adopted to ensure that there is no further non-compliance of the decisions taken,” read the order.
The office order mentioned the following nine persons and amounts that have been stopped:
Dr Abhishek Manu Singhvi — Rs.11.25 lakh
Mr Sundimatram/Surinder Mehndiratta — Rs.3.60 lakh
Mr Vincent Ville — Rs.3.60 lakh
Mr Khowaja Kamal Hasan — Rs.1.57 lakh
Mr Dayan Krishnan — Rs.3.96 lakh
Mr Nalin Kohli — Rs.5.94 lakh
Mr KV Vishwanathan — Rs.4.95 lakh
Mr Shyam Divan — Rs.4.95 lakh
Mr Gautam Dutta (DD Associates) — Rs.10.37 lakh
A source, however, said that at least one cheque has been enchased before the GAC order could be implemented. “Yes, one cheque was enchased even after the bank received this office order stopping the payment of the nine lawyers. A complaint against the bank manager has been lodged in the finance ministry,” the source told IANS.
One of the nine lawyers said that he wasn’t even aware that his payment had been stopped. “I wasn’t aware of this. I will have to check,” he said.
When IANS contacted Maninder Singh, someone else in his office answered the call, and said that the senior advocate had left behind his mobile in the office.
The GAC not only stopped the cheques of these nine advocates, but also all those cheques that have been issued without the approval of the new Legal Committee, which also comprises the same three persons — Maninder Singh, Yadav, and Abbi.
The GAC also changed the bank signatories, and appointed Yadav – he is now the “mandatory signatory” — and Abbi to sign all cheques.
The GAC issued the following order “in the interest of the association and its members”:
“1 – All the appointments/engagements made by anyone purportedly for DDCA without approval of Legal Committee are unauthorised. It is made clear that no such bill for any unauthorised appearance/act will be paid by the DDCA.
“2 – All/any cheques issued without the approval of the Legal Committee/General Administration shall be stopped for payment and personal responsibility of the official, staff of employee shall be fixed and appropriate action shall be taken (sic).
“3 – The bank to be informed by Mr Neeraj Sharma forthwith.
“4 – For the time being, the Committee decides and appoints Mr Sunil Yadav to be the signatory to operate bank accounts of DDCA. The committee approves his signing the cheques for payments on behalf of DDCA. The banker of DDCA is requested and instructed to honour cheques by the following two signatories: (i) Mr Sunil Yadav (Mandatory signatory); (ii) Prof. Rajni Abbi.”
The office order further said: “All previous signatories, if any, shall cease and any other signature on the cheques on behalf of DDCA shall not be honoured by the bank.”