New Delhi: The Supreme Court ordered Monday an investigation by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on the alleged illegal construction and collection of rent by Orissa Olympic Association (OOA) from 23 shops located on land adjacent to the Barabati Stadium in Cuttack. An apex court bench headed by Justice Dipak Mishra also barred OOA secretary Asirbad Behera from contesting for any posts in the body’s elections in future virtually ending his career as a sports administrator.
The apex court also held OOA accountable and guilty for encroaching government land near the Barabati stadium and constructing 23 shops and a Kalyan Mandap and later collecting rent from them. The court asked the Cuttack district administration to take possession of the 23 shops and marriage hall under question and asked the department of revenue to collect the rent instead of the OOA. While passing the order, the bench cited the reports of the accountant general of Orissa and stated about the revenue losses and termed the whole episode as ‘rotten management’.
“No tenant or anyone shall be entitled to institute any litigation in any manner in respect of the said property involved in this appeal that has arisen from TS No 312 of 1991 instituted in the Court of Additional Civil Judge, Senior Division, Cuttack. The government, if it decides to manage the properties by entering into fresh agreement, is at liberty to do so,” the bench, also comprising Justice PC Pant, said.
The decision to bar Asirbad from contesting in any further OOA elections is definitely a huge setback for the veteran sports administrator. In the recent past, he has been forced to give up his secretary’s chair at the Orissa Cricket Association (OCA) due to the recommendations of the Supreme Court-appointed Lodha panel. The new decision by the apex court of the country will probably mark the end of a sports administrative career.
“The concept of conflict of interest is well established. A person who is accountable to the public and deals with public affairs is not expected, as required under the law, to have any personal interest. He is not to act in a manner where it is perceived that he is directly or indirectly the beneficiary or for that matter, extends the benefit to a person of immediate proximity,” Justice Pant said.
It slammed Asirbad, who was secretary when the deals happened, for his conduct and held him guilty of conflict of interest as his son was a partner in a firm which was given the contract to run the marriage hall. “The secretary of the association, as it seems, had sent his conscience on vacation,” the apex court observed.
The two Supreme Court orders came after the OOA moved it against the earlier order of the Orissa High Court which had ordered the state government to take possession of the shops and to conduct an inquiry into the alleged land grab scandal.