The Parsee Gymkhana vice-president, Khodadad Yazdegardi, has been accused of selling two complimentary tickets for the 2011 World Cup final between India and Sri Lanka for Rs 2.5 lakh.
A three-member inquiry committee, commissioned by the Marine Lines-based gymkhana, said in its report that Yazdegardi sold off the two Grand Stand Pavilion tickets issued to the gymkhana president for Rs 1.25 lakh each.
However, even before the gymkhana management discussed the report, the inquiry committee members revealed its content to the members, leading to plenty of discord within the 128-year-old institute, and huge embarrassment to its managing committee.
The inquiry committee report said that Yazdegardi replaced the Grand Stand Pavilion tickets with the Vitthal Divecha Stand passes, and that a clerk at the gymkhana, who sold the tickets at Yazdegardi’s behest, has confessed to his role.
The World Cup final at the Wankhede Stadium, held on April 2, 2011, had been sold out months in advance, and by the time India defeated Pakistan in the semi-finals, the black market rates were being quoted anywhere between Rs 1 lakh and Rs 3 lakh per ticket.
A Gymkhana source said, “The Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) had issued four complimentary passes to each of its affiliated clubs and gymkhanas. The tickets for the Grand Stand Pavilion were issued to the gymkhana president, and the passes for the Divecha Stand were for the other members. The inquiry committee found that the clerk, who was in possession of the tickets, was asked by Yazdegardi to look for a buyer. The clerk told the inquiry committee that he handed over the money to Yazdegardi, after the tickets had been sold.
Even before the gymkhana was able to debate the report, the inquiry committee members revealed its contents to the members, leading to huge embarrassment for its managing committee. Kaizad Wadia, acting president, Parsee Gymkhana said: “The fact-finding committee has leaked the report to all the members, which is completely unacceptable. It is like washing dirty linen in the public.”
Wadia said that the inquiry report would have been considered by the managing committee, and action would have been initiated. “The legal procedure would have been followed anyway. But the inquiry committee has complicated the matter by leaking the report,” Wadia said, adding that a letter has been written to the MCA to confirm how many complimentary tickets had been issued.
The MCA joint secretary, P B Shetty, said that it was an internal matter of the gymkhana, and that he was yet to receive any letter. “We don’t have any information regarding such fraud at the gymkhana,” Shetty said.
Yazdegardi insisted that he had been framed, and that the inquiry was conducted in an arbitrary manner. “Some members are prejudiced towards me, and come up with such lies before every annual general body meeting to malign me,” he said.
Some senior members of the gymkhana, however, said the inquiry committee report was just a tip of the iceberg. “It is time that the MCA puts a check on the complimentary tickets issued, not only to the Parsee Gymkhana but all gymkhanas and clubs. These tickets inevitably find their way to the black market,” a member said.