Ever since the Justice RM Lodha Panel has hinted at an audit of all the Indian Cricket Board's state associations after being green lighted by the Supreme Court ruling, the Indian Cricket Board (BCCI) has maintained a surprising silence.
If top sources in the BCCI are to be believed, then this has been because Justice Lodha has caught hold of the BCCI's Internal Audit Report, which could put most state associations, barring a few, in the dock. The audit was conducted soon after former BCCI President Shashank Manohar took over his role towards the end of 2015.
This Audit Report, currently with BCCI's legal advisors Amarchand Mangaldas, slammed the manner in which allocated funds were spent by states like Goa, Hyderabad, Kerala, Assam, Jammu and Kashmir DDCA, and Odisha.
The report mentions how "accounts of Odisha Cricket Association (OCA) submitted to the audit firm were handwritten in this digital age", and how the "Hyderabad Cricket Association (HCA) distributed gold coins and gold jewellery to all its managing committee members".
"This was probably a Diwali gift for their wives," said a BCCI member who has been all for implementing the Lodha Panel recommendations.
It is also reliably learnt that this is why HCA President and former India off-spinner Arshad Ayub had written to the BCCI last month to rectify "irregularities" soon.
In June this year, three top officials of the Goa Cricket Association (GCA) were taken into custody for financial bungling in the Cricket Association accounts. The Audit Report cites around 18 expensive cars being bought by the GCA for its members and claims that petrol and diesel charges were also charged to the Association.
However, GCA Secretary Vinod Phadke, who was one of the officials arrested in June, denied this. "We bought three-four luxury cars along with other ordinary cars for official use. Whenever our guests—ICC, match referees, umpires, and BCCI officials—come to Goa, cabs are booked at expensive rates. So, we bought cars to reduce this bill," Phadke said.
Phadke rubbishes the Audit Report claim on fuel charges too. "We've so many rollers or other equipment on the grounds which run on diesel. There are two mini buses to ferry players which also run on diesel. This money goes from official coffers for obvious reasons," he said.
Phadke also claimed these luxury and other vehicles were shortly to be disposed of since they are not in a good condition. "An advertisement will be floated in papers in a day or so," he said.
Since the 2013 IPL spot-fixing scandal, the BCCI has been under pressure to monitor the money going to state units. Going by what is emerging, BCCI fears it would lose all sympathy from cricket lovers.
"If they place these before the Supreme Court, there is every possibility that a fresh audit would be ordered to look into the details of state associations," said a BCCI official.
The case of the Kerala Cricket Association (KCA) is even more interesting. As per the Audit Report, KCA bought mangrove land worth over Rs 30 crore from the BCCI funds. "In effect, this money is wasted," said the Audit Report. (Mangroves are coastal vegetation: Certainly not land that can be be used for a cricket field.)
Jammu & Kashmir Cricket Association's (JKCA) embezzlement to the tune of Rs 113 crore has already been investigated for over two years now. Its former President Farooq Abdullah, along with nine JKCA office-bearers were booked under Sections 406, 168 and 120-B of the RPC in 2015 for making the sports body a lending agency and for operating many bogus accounts.
Delhi & District Cricket Association (DDCA) was severely indicted by Serious Fraud Investigation Organisation (SFIO) last year.
The Audit Report has also slammed Assam Cricket Association (ACA), who were loaned Rs 60 crore by the BCCI a few years ago, but which has failed to keep a record of how and where this money was used. "We really don't know what has happened to this large sum of money," an ACA official apparently told an auditor during the course of the internal audit, thus making it a sitting duck for further scrutiny.
Keeping in mind that these states have so far opposed the Justice Lodha recommendations tooth and nail, it's anybody's guess that a tough time awaits them all.