Thursday , October 28 2021

Barua vs Lahiri fight morphs into AICF vs Bengal chess

Chennai, Sep 25 (IANS) What started as a simple complaint lodged against International Master Atanu Lahiri, Secretary, Bengal Chess Association (BCA), by Grand Master Dibyendu Barua, has now turned out into a full-fledged battle with all the trappings of a high-level chess game with plots and sub-plots.

The fight, which was supposed to be between Barua and Lahiri, has now turned into a fight between the BCA and the All India Chess Federation (AICF).

While the AICF has directed BCA to hold its annual general meeting (AGM) under the supervision of a three-member committee comprising Vice Presidents A. Narasimha Reddy and D.V. Sundar and Treasurer Kishor Bhandekar, the state association seems to be not in favour of it and the polls for electing its office bearers.

The AICF has also tasked the three-member committee to probe the complaint made by Barua against Lahiri.

Curiously, AICF Secretary Bharat Singh Chauhan was not included as a probe committee member, raising many an eyebrow. Normally the Secretary is made a member of the committee.

“The probe committee has sent me a set of questions and I have answered the same,” Lahiri told IANS.

The view in the chess circles is that all these happenings are nothing but power struggle within the AICF.

On Tuesday, a three-member ad hoc committee of the BCA announced its decision to remove Lahiri from the post of Secretary as he did not respond to the show cause notice issued to him by its Disciplinary Committee on September 2.

The BCA has also obtained an ad-interim order of injunction from a local court against the AICF and A. Narasimha Reddy, Chairman of the AICF Enquiry Committee, restraining them from issuing any direction pertaining to holding of elections.

The court has also restrained Lahiri from acting as BCA Secretary and ordered status quo with regard to election activities till November 20, 2019.

On his part, Lahiri has approached the Calcutta High Court seeking redressal against the actions of the BCA’s Executive Committee.

“The BCA AGM was slated on October 4, where a new set of office bearers would be elected. As per rules, I am not eligible for another term. Why so much effort to remove me now,” Lahiri wondered.

The former Commonwealth chess champion Lahiri said that the recent happenings smacked of a well-planned game plan.

“Barua held a press meet and levelled various charges against me when I was on national duty in China as the coach of the Indian team, participating in the World Cadet meet. Three days later, and without hearing my views, the AICF issued a media statement condemning me which reveals a conspiracy,” Lahiri said.

Soon after this, a BCA Disciplinary Committee issues a show cause notice to Lahiri and later an ad hoc committee decides to remove him as Secretary.

“All of a sudden the office bearers of BCA have become hyper active,” Lahiri said.

According to Lahiri, the actions of the ad hoc committee are not legal.

“Who is controlling the BCA now,” he wondered.

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.



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