Police establish nexus, Narvekar denies

| 12 April 2001 23:02 IST

The Goa police have finally succeeded in establishing a criminal conspiracy between the Goa Cricket Association and the ticket contractor in printing and selling bogus tickets for the final cricket ODI between Australia and India in Goa.

Dayanand Narvekar, the GCA president and former deputy chief minister, has however dismissed the police theory. Convening the GCA meeting today morning, Rama Shankardas, who has been arrested for the crime, has been removed from the post of the treasurer.

"We have found a link to establish the criminal conspiracy. But we cannot disclose it at this stage", said DIG of Police Karnal Singh. The police are still investigating the matter to find out who else from the side of the GCA was involved in the racket.

After interrogating over 150 persons including the GCA officials for the last five days and seizing documents from the GCA office last night, the police have found that over 26,000 bogus tickets worth over Rs 90 lakh were printed unauthorisedly and sold to the cricket fans through unauthorised agents in Goa and outside.

"Our main concentration is now on the issues of duplication of tickets, overpricing the tickets and the suspected criminal conspiracy between the contractor and the GCA", said Singh. The police have arrested altogether six persons till date, including contractor, printer and one unauthorised agent, who is Narvekar's brother-in-law.

Though police have received a letter from the GCA's official Hyderabad-based printer that he was told to print additional 1650 tickets without billing for it, Narvekar has expressed total ignorance over it, stating that none of his managing committee members were aware of it.

He however fully justifies getting additional 760 tickets printed from Hyderabad. "We sold it to Pepsi by providing 10 seats each in 67 boxes in the stadium while accruing Rs 5.50 lakh from it", he informed the journalists today.

Contrary to the police theory that the GCA got most of these tickets printed unauthorisedly, Narvekar feels that even printing 750 complimentary passes in Goa at last minute or withholding 3000 tickets from the contractor was a legal act, approved by the GCA's managing committee.

In fact, states Narvekar, these tickets were withheld for selling 1500 to the BCCI, 500 to the Sports Authority of Goa as well as to several state-level associations like the Bombay Cricket Association and the Karnataka Cricket Association etc.

Vinod Phadke, the GCA secretary who was in-charge of printing tickets, today said that he had delegated the responsibility to Das later as he was busy with the work of correspondence. "Why me alone, the whole GCA should owe responsibility for it", he said.

Even Narvekar refused to owe moral responsibility of the controversy, stating that he has sought report from all the concerned persons to ascertain what went wrong. In fact he claims that the GCA's chances are brightened to get more matches in future after organising the Australia-India match efficiently.

The police are however presently examining all the GCA documents they have seized, while also planning to summon K P Kajaria, the BCCI observer for the Goa match, down here to interrogate him. K Madhavan, the BCCI commissioner, has already offered full co-operation in this regard.

After interrogating the GCA officials and the stadium engineer, they are also examining the load factor of the stadium. While the capacity of the stadium is 27,300, it is found that around 25,000 more tickets were sold to the public without considering the risk of human loss if any part of the stadium had collapsed.

Meanwhile, two separate teams have also reached in Hyderabad to examine papers of the official printer and in Sivkasi, Tamil Nadu to conduct raid on another printer, who printed 20,000 bogus tickets at the behest of the ticket contractor.

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