All India Chess Federation crisis shows no sign of abating

President P. R. Venketrama Raja and secretary Bharat Singh Chauhan have been involved in an ugly battle, through mails, that has most affiliates of the AICF worried.

The crisis in the All India Chess Federation (AICF) is showing no sign of abating. (Representative image)   -  C. V. Subrahmanyam

The crisis in the All India Chess Federation (AICF) is showing no sign of abating.

President P. R. Venketrama Raja and secretary Bharat Singh Chauhan have been involved in an ugly battle, through mails, that has most affiliates of the AICF worried.

It all started with Chauhan sending out a notice dated November 30 to all affiliates, scheduling the Central Council Meeting on December 22 in Gurugram. Six days later, on December 6, Raja cancelled the meeting through a mail wherein he accused Chauhan of not seeking his approval for the meeting or the agenda.

On the same day, Raja also issued a five-point Show cause notice to Chauhan, who was given time till 5 p.m. on December 12 to respond.

Within a few hours of receiving the letter cancelling the Central Council Meeting and the show-cause notice from the president, Chauhan sent out a notice for a Special Meeting of the General Body in Gurugram on December 22.

READ| AICF president and secretary call separate general body meetings

Interestingly, one of the items in the agenda, read “To explore the possibilities of early election in AICF, given the extra ordinary situation.” The AICF elections are due in May/June 2020.

Around midnight of December 7, the president shot off a notice to all affiliates, calling for an Urgent Meeting of the General Body in Chennai on December 14.

The agenda for this meeting includes the recent resignation of AICF joint secretary Atanu Lahiri and the show-cause notice given to Chauhan and his reply, if any.

Lahiri, the recently ‘ousted’ Bengal Chess Association secretary backed by the AICF in his ongoing legal battle with Grandmaster Dibyendu Barua, chose to step down from the AICF post and sent his resignation earlier this week to Raja. In fact, the state associations became aware of Lahiri’s resignation only after it became part of the agenda for the December 14 meeting.

READ| All India Chess Federation confrontation comes to a boil

Going by the modus operandi of the AICF, seen since 2005, the possibility of stay order or ex-parte orders from court cannot be ruled out. Though Chauhan appears to have the support of majority of affiliates, Raja has reasons to be confident of nailing the former in the Urgent Meeting of General Body on December 14.

With both warring factions refusing to step back and going ahead with plans for a decisive showdown in the coming days, the dark side of AICF will soon be out in the open, like never before.