By Venkatachari Jagannathan
Chennai, Dec 14 (IANS) If there is data theft and data piracy then the logical course is to lodge a police complaint and not issue a show cause notice, said All India Chess Federation (AICF) Secretary Bharat Singh Chauhan.
“It is curious to note the timing of the show cause notice. At a time when I was exposing the case of a forgery in Bengal Chess Association (BCA) the AICF President has issued the notice in order mainly to silence me and also put the lid on the forgery,” Chauhan told IANS.
Chauhan said the reply to the show cause notice has been sent to AICF on Dec 12, 2019.
“They cannot defame me and chuck me out of AICF. I had worked and lived for chess. I will not be cowed down by such tactics allow my reputation being tarred by false allegations of data theft and data piracy,” Chauhan said.
He had written a letter to Central government based on which the latter had directed AICF President P.R.Venketrama Raja to cancel the Urgent Meeting of the General Body called on Dec 14, 2019 or face consequences.
In a show cause notice to Chauhan on Dec 6, 2019, Raja had called for explanation from the former on various charges.
The major charge made against Chauhan among others was engaging Thought Roots India, better known as Nutr for the mobile app development keeping the AICF central council in the dark. The notice said Raja had given permission to develop the app through a person Prachura.
“Further, without authority and surreptitiously, you signed a non-disclosure agreement with them on January 15, 2019,” the notice says.
“More importantly, you had allowed Nutr to have complete access to our players/coaches/arbiters/other resulting in breach of privacy and theft of data, which is violation of the Information Technology Act,” the notice states.
“Even today, Nutr is committing data theft and is claiming to be a part of the AICF as well as committing intellectual property violations,” the notice said.
Responding to the Chauhan said: “If there is data theft and data piracy then the correct course of action is to lodge a police complaint. It is for the police to find the data thief.”
Chauhan said it was he who had signed the non-disclosure agreement with Nutr so that the data is not shared with all.
Meanwhile the forgery that Chauhan talks about relates to the Bengal Chess Association (BCA).
On Nov 26, 2019, the Sports Authority of India (SAI) in a letter had asked the AICF to refund Rs 10 lakh, alleging the utilisation certificate submitted by the latter was a forged document and also asked Raja to set up a three-member panel to probe the issue and submit a report.
The SAI has also asked the AICF to submit details of all national championships since 2014, including the host unit, amount sanctioned by the SAI and whether funds sanctioned were diverted to third party, other than the state chess federation, to conduct such championships.
According to the SAI, it had received bills from the AICF relating to the 44th National Sub-Junior and the 35th National Sub-Junior Girls’ Chess Championships held in West Bengal from July 17-25, 2018.
Chauhan said the forged funds utilisation certificate was submitted by BCA Secretary and International Master (IM) Atanu Lahiri.
“We get the accounts from the state chess federation to whom the funds were allocated and forward it to SAI. We have no reason to distrust our state federation office bearers,” Chauhan had told IANS earlier.
On his part Lahiri told IANS: “A police complaint has been lodged to probe the issue of forged utilisation certificate.”
“The accounts and audit matters of BCA were handled by the Treasurer. I have no reason to suspect any of the BCA office bearers. On receipt of the necessary documents, they were forwarded to AICF,” he added.
According to him, the AICF had released only Rs.7.5 lakh out of Rs.10 lakh released by SAI. The balance Rs.2.5 lakh was spent out of BCA funds.
“I welcome a detailed probe into the issue. The probe should also look at the motive behind this allegation. The motives could be (a) to trap me in a criminal case (b) malign me and spoil my name. Who will benefit from this should also be probed,” Lahiri had said.