• Wednesday, April 24, 2024

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AFC asks for evidence on corruption charges

AIFF president Kalyan Chaubey with FIFA president Gianni Infantino

Eastern EyeBy: Eastern Eye

THE Asian Football Confederation (AFC) has asked the AIFF’s [All India Football Federation] ousted legal head, Nilanjan Bhattacharjee, to submit evidence for allegations of corruption he has levelled against national federation head Kalyan Chaubey, calling it a serious matter.

The AIFF president Chaubey, on March 6, served a legal notice to the organisation’s former principal legal advisor Bhattacharjee for accusing him of corruption. Bhattacharjee, in a letter to Indian prime minister Narendra Modi, has alleged that Chaubey was part of non-transparent tender processes and made attempts to “siphon off money from the federation” for personal expenses.

The AFC had asked Bhattacharjee to submit a “full written report” by Monday (18).

“We refer to the attached media articles in which we note that allegations relating to corruption have been made by you against the All India Football Federation (AIFF) president, Kalyan Chaubey. In light of the seriousness of this matter, we kindly request that you provide the AFC with a full written report setting out your position on the matter by 18 March 2024 at the latest,” the deputy secretary to the AFC disciplinary and ethics committee, Barry Lysaght, wrote to Bhattacharjee, last Tuesday (12).

“Such report should include (without limitation) details of the allegations, any evidence to support such allegations, any steps taken by you to address the allegations at the AIFF (or any other body/person) and any other relevant information or documentation relating to this matter,”it added.

Chaubey has called the allegations “baseless”, accusing Bhattacharjee of trying to damage his reputation. But Bhattacharjee has remained steadfast and has claimed that during his tenure, he once refused to sign a “lopsided” agreement with the airlines company Indigo, where “a minimum guarantee of Rs seven crore” was to be given for content creation rights against “no incentive to Indian football”.

However, Chaubey has given a point-by-point rebuttal to the allegations by Bhattacharjee, who said he will submit all his evidence to the AFC by the due date.

“I am happy because at least the AFC chose to take note of my allegations while everybody within the AIFF, except very few people, decided to keep mum. This can be the beginning,” Bhattacharjee said.

“I will submit all the evidence I have with me to the AFC within the stipulated time. Any individual who thinks about Indian football can join me and share anything they have,” he added. Meanwhile, former India captain Bhaichung Bhutia also waded into the controversy and called for Chaubey’s resignation.

“There have been a lot of negative stories going around regarding AIFF administration. But the AFC taking note of corruption allegations against Kalyan and maybe the AFC looking to open an investigation, it has the possibility to seriously damage the reputation of Indian football,” Bhutia said.

“For some time, it has been a mess. The controversial sacking of the secretarygeneral and the legal head making serious corruption allegations against Kalyan and later his termination.

“Nothing is going right in AIFF administration. Kalyan should resign, taking responsibility for all this and new elections should be held to clean up Indian football,” he said.

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