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Dalmiya's challenge for open debate to Mukherjee spices up CAB polls

By Staff

Kolkata, July 27 (UNI) Former CAB president Jagmohan Dalmiya today played the role of a vindicator and challenger at the same time for his successor Prasun Mukherjee, clearing the air on NCC's claims and challenging him for a debate having pulled him into this controversy.

In a letter, addressed to CAB president Prasun Mukherjee, Dalmiya said, '' I was shocked and deeply pained when I read the newspapers this morning with reports of you alleging that I had masterminded a letter that you have received from Mr Lalit Seth of NCC and that I was being instrumental in delaying CAB'S development work. '' He then went on to add that as he had made clear in the July 20 press meet he had no conflict with CAB and was always ready to help the body in any of its ventures.

'' In fact I have always held that I have nursed CAB like my own child and would do anything to protect its interest and to promote its progress. I was duly elected as the president of CAB, but had resigned on December 27, 2006 keeping the best interest of the Association in mind, '' he said.

'' You would please recall that after the 2006 Annual General Meeting, I had invited you to head the infrastructure Development Committee and we had meetings on October 14 and November 2, 2006.

During the meeting, one of the points of discussion was extension of lease of Eden Gardens. I not only briefed you with regard to the latest position but also went at length to explain the history of the ownership of Eden Grdens from the days of Rani Rashmoni till a couple of years before the 1987 World Cup when there were six claimants - Ministry of Defence, the Government of West Bengal, CAB, NCC, Calcutta Cricket Club and Railways, '' he said.

'' Prior to the 1987 World Cup, the five other claimants relinquished their claims in favour of the Ministry of Defence in turn, gave Eden Gardens to lease for an initial period of five years and subsequently, for 15 years from 1992. I had in fact given you a detailed synopsis of the history of Eden Gardens' ownership during one of the discussions, '' he said.

'' Under the circumstances, it is rather irrational to assume that I would instigate any person to write that the lease of Eden Gardens cannot be renewed without NCC'S consent because I along with former CAB presidents Mr Siddhartha shankar Ray and Mr B N Dutt as well as the former Chief Secretary Rathin Sengupta were instrumental in obtaining the lease in favour of CAB from the Defence authorities in 1987 and its subsequent renewal in 1992, '' he added.

'' I am fully aware that the NCC has no say whatsoever with regard to the renewal of lease. I have not seen Mr Seth's letter, But what I have read about its contents in the newspapers, I could at best state that this could be Mr Seth's personal views as facts available with you would amply prove that for the past 20 years, NCC has no legal or moral claim on the ownership of Eden Gardens. In fact, for relinquishing its ownership claim, NCC is entitled to a certain quota of tickets during international matches played at Eden Gardens, '' Mr Dalmiya clarified, vindicating Mr Mukherjee's comments that NCC's claim was not valid.

Then he fired a salvo at Mr Mukherjee stating, '' I trust that the contents of this letter would satisfy you with regard to the factual position. If this fails to satisfy you, I would invite you or any of your colleagues for a debate on this issue in an open forum in the presence of the media on Monday - July 30 - at a mutually convenient time. I could have invited you or any of your colleagues for the debate today or tomorrow, but since I know that the CAB elections are scheduled tomorrow, I did not want to disturb unnecessarily. '' UNI

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Story first published: Friday, July 27, 2007, 21:17 [IST]
Other articles published on Jul 27, 2007