New Delhi: Sports Minister Ajay Maken on Wednesday criticised the Indian cricket board for refusing to come under the Right to Information (RTI) Act and said the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) enjoys several exemptions at the expense of tax payers’ money.
“What do they mean by they don’t get government funds so shouldn’t come under RTI? They are indirectly getting government funds. How about the tax exemptions? How about the land they get? How much did they pay for the Ferozeshah Kotla?” said Maken, a day after the union cabinet rejected the National Sport Development Bill.
“BCCI does not have to pay entertainment tax; they don’t pay for the security provided during the matches by the government. Even the lands for the stadiums they use are generally given to them free of cost. So people have the right to know what is happening in the BCCI. People should know certain things because, at the end of the day, their team represents the country,” said the minister.
“Let them spell out three or four clauses which they are not happy with. I would drop them. But their financial dealings must come under RTI Act,” the minister said.
Maken said the sports ministry was not asking National Sports Federations (NSF), including the BCCI, to reveal anything to the government, rather he wanted them to be accountable to the people.
“We are not saying that they should be accountable to the government, but they must be accountable to the people of the nation because they enjoy certain benefits at the expense of the tax payers’ money,” said the sports minister.
“We are not trying to control any federations. All we want is for them to be transparent and efficient. We want them to come under the RTI and to have age restrictions,” he said.
On the age limit of 70 set in the bill for NSF office-bearers, Maken said: “What is their problem with age limit? Doesn’t the judiciary, the bureacracy have age limits? Why can’t a good example be followed? If someone remains a federation chief for ever, why will vested interests not develop? Seventy is a ripe age and they should realize that they have been around for a long time and now they should make way for younger people to lead the sports bodies.” (IANS)