Mathew questions ombudsman’s integrity

Accused of corruption, acting BCCI vice-president says ombudsman is dancing to the tunes of KCA office-bearers

Published: 14th July 2018 01:12 AM  |   Last Updated: 14th July 2018 06:11 AM   |  A+A-

By Express News Service

KOCHI: Acting BCCI vice-president and former Kerala Cricket Association (KCA) president T C Mathew on Friday questioned the KCA’s appointment of its ombudsman-cum-ethics officer and alleged that the ombudsman is dancing to the tunes of a few KCA office-bearers.

Mathew was reacting to the ombudsman ordering him last week to pay `2.16 crore to the KCA within two months after the inquiry committee constituted on his orders found Mathew of carrying out several misappropriations, including misuse of office vehicle, unauthorised occupation of KCA’s guest house and construction of cricket stadia across the state.

However, speaking at the Press Club here, Mathew refuted the allegations and said that the report of the committee has been completely fabricated. “The KCA office-bearers appointed a former High Court judge as ombudsman so that they will have some credibility when they carry out their personal agenda inside the organisation,” said Mathew.

“The ombudsman is essentially a dispute redressal forum, but it has been acting as a court here. The Lodha panel recommends two or three states to set up an ombudsman for cost control, but KCA has spent around `1 crore on the ombudsman’s office at the Jawaharlal Nehru International Stadium here,” he said.

“The ombudsman is supposed to be independent of the state body and BCCI. That is not the case here,” Mathew said, adding that the attacks against him began after he had brought up financial misappropriations by KCA’s project office headed by Jayesh George, its former secretary and now representative to the BCCI.

On the ombudsman’s order that he had to repay `8.25 lakh towards rent unauthorisedly spent by him, Mathew challenged the KCA to produce a rent agreement or receipt for payment for the said building. He also dismissed the order to repay `25.29 lakh for unauthorised use of the guest room at KCA headquarters in Thiruvananthapuram by people, including his son, claiming there was no proof.

Mathew admitted he had used the KCA’s vehicle after resigning as its president, but said he had continued as the BCCI vice-president and said that the amount of `3.9 lakh to be recovered is quantified without any proof.

When it comes to paying `17.28 lakh towards omission to take legal opinion before purchasing land for a stadium in Kasargod, Mathew said that “a complaint inquired into by the Vigilance, District Collector and Revenue Department separately found that there is no violation”.

He also dismissed other allegations such as misappropriation in the construction of a retaining wall at the Kasargod ground and irregularity in awarding contracts for ERP software, designing pavilions at the Thodupzuha stadium and landscaping in all KCA stadia. He said he will approach the High Court against the order.

A2.16 cr
The amount T C Mathew owes to KCA, according to the panel constituted by the ombudsman

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