Indian chess: Secretary removed, more turmoil in AICF

The All India Chess Federation's president P. R. Venketrama Raja removed Bharat Singh Chauhan from the post of secretary on Monday.

File photo: AICF secretary Bharat Singh Chauhan questions president P. R. Venketrama Raja's authority   -  S. S. KUMAR

The crisis-ridden All India Chess Federation (AICF) plunged into further turmoil when its president P. R. Venketrama Raja removed Bharat Singh Chauhan from the post of secretary of the federation on Monday.

In a three-page letter, dated March 30, addressed to Chauhan, Raja detailed reasons for his action and said he had no option but to exercise his “extraordinary powers as the president of AICF under Article 15 (a) of the AICF Constitution and Bye-Laws.”

It may be recalled that the AICF is awaiting a directive from the Madras High Court regarding fresh date of elections of its office bearers.

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In February, Chauhan as secretary, Ajay Patel as president and three others were declared elected unopposed to the principal posts of AICF. Later, Madras High court set ordered fresh elections and Supreme Court dismissed a Special Leave Petition challenging the verdict.

When contacted, Chauhan questioned Raja’s authority and dismissed his action of removing him as a “malicious attempt to cover his tracks.”

He argued, “Raja ceased to be the AICF president from February 11, the date on which the court-appointed returning officer declared Mr. Patel as the newly-elected AICF president.

“Despite the Hon’ble Madras High Court ordering fresh elections of AICF, Mr. Patel, being the last person to hold AICF president’s office, remains the interim president till fresh elections are conducted.”

He alleged Raja announced his removal to save All Marathi Chess Association, which was dilly-dallying in submitting the accounts for the World Youth Championship held last October.

“AMCA received a State Government grant of Rs. 2 crore for the championship and did not bother to account for it. Last of my letters seeking AMCA’s response was sent on March 29th and within a day, Raja, without authority, announced my removal.”

Meanwhile, in another strange development, 12 affiliates have jointly called AICF’s Special/Extraordinary General Body Meeting on April 22 in the Capital.

The letter, written on Chandigarh Chess Association’s letterhead claiming representations from 12 states and union territories and listing a nine-point agenda, which reads: “We had sent to Hon. Secretary/AICF, a requisition in writing to call a Special/Extraordinary General Body Meeting of AICF as per the rights and powers vested in them under the Article 11 of the Constitution ofthe AICF and Section 28 of Tamil Nadu Societies Registration Act 1975.

As the Hon. Secretary of AICF has expressed in letter dated 29.03.2020, his inability to call such meeting, we have decided to call the meeting.”