Cricket Association of Uttarakhand (CAU) secretary Mahim Verma and six others from the state cricket unit have been named in an FIR following a complaint filed by the father of former Under-19 cricketer Arya Sethi.
According to the FIR registered June 20, complainant Virendra Sethi has alleged that his son was given death threats by Uttarakhand coach Manish Jha, team manager Navneet Mishra and video analyst Piyush Raghuvanshi during the Vijay Hazare tournament last year.
The FIR has been registered at the Vasant Vihar police station in Dehradun under sections for criminal conspiracy (120B), voluntary causing hurt (323), extortion (384), and intentional insult (504) and criminal intimidation (506).
During a practice session in Rajkot, where the Uttarakhand team was based for the Vijay Hazare Trophy in December last year, coach Jha had abused Arya and also hit him, the FIR states. Matters got worse when Arya approached Verma, the state association secretary, and informed him about the incident.
Once he complained to Verma, the FIR states, that Arya was called to the room of the coach and given death threats. Coach Jha, manager Mishra and video analyst Raghuvanshi have been accused of giving death threats. The trio also told Arya that they would hire a hitman, according to the FIR.
Once the team returned home, Virender had gone to meet Verma at his residence. However, Verma instead of giving him a patient hearing demanded Rs 10 lakhs to ensure there were no roadblocks in Arya’s career at the state level, the FIR states. Virendra also alleged in the FIR that he was threatened by Verma. The others named in the FIR registered at the Vasant Vihar police station in Dehradun are the cricket association’s spokesperson Sanjay Gusain and two other staffers of the association — Satyam Verma and Parul.
Vinod Singh Rana, SHO of the Vasant Vihar Police Station officer, said the investigation is ongoing.
“We have registered an FIR and the investigation process is on. We had formed a small team, which is investigating the matter and had even issued notices to CAU officials but we haven’t heard anything from them. We have been informed that out of seven, two had moved court where they have received protection from arrest. Instead, the police can question them. But we haven’t received a court order in this regard,” Rana said.
CAU secretary Verma didn’t respond to calls or text messages.
Allegations of corruption have been levelled against the CAU recently by independent MLA Umesh Kumar during a session at the Vidhan Sabha.
MLA Kumar, when contacted by this newspaper on Tuesday, said professional fees paid had shot up immensely though there was no cricket being played because of the Covid pandemic. “During Covid, CAU distributed Rs 6.5 crore as professional fees, I want to know to whom they paid this money? Before March 2020, the professional fees were around Rs 2.75 crores. During Covid who had lunch and dinner of Rs 1.27 crores? How did they hire cricketing coaches? I raised this in Uttarakhand Sadan too. I think BCCI should intervene, there is very big corruption going on here,” Kumar said.
On the field the team has been at the receiving end. During the quarterfinal of the Ranji Trophy in Bengaluru, Mumbai beat Uttarakhand by 725 runs, a world record for the highest margin of victory. Uttarakhand were set a target of 794 runs but were bowled out for 69 in the second innings after posting 114 in the first.