By Venkatachari Jagannathan
Chennai, Sep 10 (IANS) The All India Chess Federation (AICF) has ordered the Bengal Chess Association (BCA) to hold its Annual General Meeting (AGM) under the supervision of a three-member committee.
The committee will also enquire the complaint made by India’s second chess Grand Master Dibyendu Barua against BCA Secretary and International Master (IM) Atanu Lahiri.
In a letter dated September 9, 2019, to all the office bearers of AICF and the state associations, AICF President P.R. Venketrama Raja said the committee will comprise Vice Presidents A. Narasimha Reddy and D.V. Sundar and Treasurer Kishor Bhandekar.
According to Raja, the BCA should hold its AGM under the supervision of the committee in early October.
Raja also frowned upon AICF Secretary Bharat Singh Chauhan, saying: “The press release by the AICF went beyond the brief given by me and has created unnecessary emotions giving the impression that AICF has made up its mind.”
According to Raja, Chauhan had brought to his notice the press meet held by Barua in Kolkata highlighting the allegations against BCA Secretary Lahiri, and in particular the alleged action taken against a couple of GMs in Bengal, and the AICF has to respond.
Raja said that he had agreed with Chauhan that a press release can be given, saying the players’ interest will be protected and that the AICF will investigate the matter thoroughly and take appropriate action.
In its media statement issued on August 30, 2019, the AICF had condemned Lahiri’s attitude and added: “The AICF will initiate a thorough enquiry into the affairs of the Bengal Chess Association and its Secretary Atanu Lahiri on the charges levelled by Dibyendu Barua. We will set up a committee soon to look in to the matter.”
The AICF statement had clearly mentioned that it was being issued with Raja’s approval.
“It is important that we in the AICF be seen as impartial till all allegations are verified and a chance is given to all parties to speak. I see some members of Bengal Chess Association have already called a meeting to initiate action against Mr Atanu even before the AICF has done the investigation,” Raja said in the letter.
“The media statement by All India Chess Federation (AICF) condemning me shows a deeper conspiracy against me. The AICF has condemned me based on misinformation fed by one side and without seeking clarification from me,” Lahiri had told IANS from China.
“I am not going to put down my papers in a hurry. I will fight it out. It is going to be a long drawn battle. I will clear my name first before quitting,” Lahiri added.
“I am on a national duty in China as the coach of the Indian team participating in the World Cadet meet. During my absence, Barua held a press meet and levelled various charges against me. Three days later, and without hearing my side, the AICF issued a media statement condemning me which in turn shows a conspiracy,” Lahiri had added.
According to Lahiri, the AICF’s statement was also not clear in its charges against him.
On August 27, a normally reticent Barua took the Indian chess world by surprise by levelling various charges against Lahiri, including misuse of power as BCA Secretary and conflict of interest with regard to a West Bengal government project to teach chess to tribal students in the state.
Barua also alleged that BCA had passed a resolution to not invite GM Surya Shekhar Ganguly and GM Deep Sengupta for any chess function/activity for their critical comments about the way in which the National Team Championship-2019 was organised in Kolkata by the BCA.
Incidentally, the tournament is recognised by the AICF which should have checked the facilities at the playing venue. The AICF gives its recognition to tournaments that comply with its norms.