New Delhi:There were early fireworks at a Delhi District Cricket Association (DDCA) Annual General Meeting on Tuesday morning, with executive member Kirti Azad storming out saying he had been insulted and manhandled.
An upset Azad said he and other members were humiliated when they tried to ask questions about the poor pitch at Kotla which led to the ODI against Sri Lanka being abandoned on Sunday. He said the BCCI was being blamed at the meeting. (Watch: Kirti Azad storms out)
"When I entered, some people tried to insult me. Some members were mishandled when they were asking questions in the meeting. As we are members of DDCA, it is our duty to ask questions. Today's meeting has left me deeply hurt," the former cricketer, who attended a DDCA AGM for the first time, said.
A BJP MP from Darbhanga, Azad absolved senior party leader and DDCA president Arun Jaitley.
"The formation of the Sports Committee was a disaster. Arun Jaitley has always maintained high moral ground and if he feels, I am sure he will resign on moral ground after the pitch incident.
"Mr Jaitley promised Virender Sehwag that the Cricket Committee will be formed within 15 days but 15 weeks have spent and nothing has happened because the Sports Committee is against the idea," said Azad.
He also held the DDCA entirely responsible for Sunday's pitch fiasco.
"It is the moral responsibility of the DDCA. The BCCI gives them technical assistance and it is the local curator who is responsible for preparing the pitch," he said.
Sunil Goel, a lifetime DDCA member, was also furious as he came out of the meeting claiming he had been pushed by the Sports Committee members.
"When I asked a few questions on accounts they pushed me and told me to sit. They warned me against asking such questions," Goel said.
"Azad also raised some relevant questions but he was objected. I am worried about the future of DDCA. Mr Jaitley should have ensured that the dignity of a member is not harmed," he said.
Chetan Chauhan, another former cricketer and the chairman of the DDCA pitch committee that resigned after the Kotla fiasco, however denied that
Kirti Azad was manhandled. (Watch: Kirti Azad's charges are untrue: Chauhan)
"You can ask all the members. At least 125 members were present at the meeting and if you ask them they will all deny this.
"Azad was given due chance to air his views and he spoke for about 45 minutes out of the one hour 45 minutes long meeting. He raised some queries which has been answered," Chauhan said.
Even, DDCA Sports Secretary Sunil Dev denied Azad's allegations and claimed that the meeting went off peacefully.
"The meeting was peaceful and no incident took place. Resolutions were passed unanimously and everyone was allowed to speak. Nothing at all happened," Dev said.
Asked if Azad had been insulted or manhandled for raising the the Kotla pitch issue, Dev said, "Not at all. If any of the members who attended the meeting say that something of this sort happened, I will resign immediately."
"The AGM went off well, our accounts were passed. Eight Directors were elected and it all happened peacefully," he insisted.
"Kotla discussion was raised by some members and their questions were answered by our President. If there was a mistake, we will mend it," he added.
Tempers were expected to be high with Sunday's Kotla fiasco on top of the agenda. Also, how to get out of a sticky position.
Sources have indicated that the DDCA plans to carry the blame game forward and claim that since it had consulted the now sacked grounds and pitches committee chairman Daljit Singh, it is the BCCI that is responsible for Sunday's fiasco.
The nation had watched in horror as the fifth ODI between India and Sri Lanka was abandoned after 23.3 overs had been bowled, with the guests complaining that the pitch was dangerous.
However, Daljit Singh said the Kotla was not the worst pitch on the earth, though he admitted that a few games should have been played on the new surface.
The DDCA has received universal flak since then for preparing a poor pitch for an international game. The entire pitch committee quit on Sunday. BJP leader Arun Jaitley is the president of the DDCA and there have been demands that he too resign after the embarrassment. Many within the DDCA, including Virender Sehwag, have criticised the workings of the DDCA.
The International Cricket Council (ICC) will now review Kotla's position as an international venue after going through the report of the match referee Allen Hurst.
In what could be the Delhi cricket lover's nightmare, the ICC match referee's report could put the Kotla ground out of the international scene for a good two years. (Read: Does Kotla face an 18-month ban?)
The report has labeled the Kotla pitch as "unfit". The "unfit" tag is the worst on a pitch fitness scale of six.
An ICC inspection team that had visited Kotla in November, after an India-Australia ODI, to check on preparedness for the 2011 World Cup had warned that the pitch was poor. Now, Kotla's chances at hosting World Cup matches too look bleak. (Read: We Warned DDCA about bad pitch: ICC)
(With agency inputs)