Grandmaster Dibyendu Barua on Tuesday accused Bengal Chess Association (BCA) secretary Atanu Lahiri of committing several ‘misdeeds,’ including ‘financial embezzlement,’ and stopping his 12-year-old tournament, Chess for Youth, because of ‘personal’ grudge.
Addressing a press conference with a long list of allegations against Lahiri, Barua said Lahiri, as the state’s representative in the All India Chess Federation (AICF), did not recommend his tournament – a formality to get permission – for a go-ahead from the National body even after ‘verbally’ granting permission.
Barua said Lahiri blocked permission to the event, which was scheduled to be held on November 2 and 3, as the former pointed out to the West Bengal Government Tribal Development department that a large amount of fund being paid to Global Chess Foundation (Lahiri’s ‘own company’) for promotion of chess among tribal communities and suggested that the funds instead should go to BCA.
Accordingly, the minister (Rajib Banerjee) “instructed the department to hand over the project to BCA instead of GCF.”
Among Barua’s allegations, Lahiri not holding the BCA elections even though his tenure was over in December 2018, not letting two players participate in events and instructing BCA members not to invite Grandmasters Surya Sekhar Ganguly and Deep Sengupta for tournaments were prominent.
In his response, Lahiri said since a FIDE-rated event scheduled in Durgapur had to get preference as per BCA regulations, Barua was asked to only change the dates of his event.
According to Lahiri, player Dilip Das was denied entry to some events as he was not registered with BCA, while Sneha Halder was denied entry by the organizer of an event on disciplinary ground.
The decision not to invite Ganguly and Sengupta was “unanimously” taken by the BCA, Lahiri said.
Lahiri said as per his agreement with the Tribal Development department he was to be remunerated for his services.
“Barua has crossed all the limits of decency by getting hand on my personal company account without my permission and circulating it in public with my consent. It is a criminal offence which he has committed.
“I strongly deny all the allegations against me as baseless,” said Lahiri in a statement.
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