New Delhi, Jan 9 (IANS) For close to two years, members of the Delhi Gymkhana Club (DGC), located in the heart of Lutyens’ Delhi, are fighting a legal battle with the Centre, which has appointed an administrator to manage the affairs of the club, to retain its decades-old exclusivity. In December last year, over 90 per cent members voted against the changes in the accounting of the club at the annual general meeting (AGM), and similarly, the members have vehemently opposed many other decisions of the administrator.
On January 7, one of the oldest members of the Gymkhana Club wrote to the Finance Minister (FM) and the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) highlighting the major faux pas committed by the administrator, Om Pathak, a former UP cadre IAS officer, in the club after taking over the reins. Jay Bhattacharjee, in an email, said rejection of the DGC’s accounts at the last AGM by an absolutely overwhelming majority of the members (shareholders) is something that must not be overlooked by either MCA or the government. Pathak is the third administrator in past one year.
He further, in the email, added, “Clearly, there was very little due diligence carried out on OP (Om Pathak). His career record, insofar as is available in the public domain, is hardly flattering. His involvement in the Delhi Public School society affairs has question marks all over the place. It is impossible to say with any degree of confidence that OP was a good choice as an Administrator of the DGC from the MCA’s / UOI’s perspective”.
The email added that Pathak is spending funds liberally to host a number of cultural / intellectual events that were non-starters and committing a sheer act of vandalism in destroying the club’s green patch that was not only ecologically necessary and viable but also contributed to the revenue. “Presenting accounts to the AGM of the Club that were based on a new set of accounting norms that are not followed by any other Section 8 clubs in the country. The Statutory Auditors’ advice to seek the views of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) on this change of accounting policy was cavalierly disregarded by OP”, added the email.
Bhattacharjee emphasized the consequent rejection of the DGC’s accounts at the last AGM in December 2021 by an absolutely overwhelming majority of the members (shareholders) is something that must not be overlooked by either the MCA or the government.
“The DGC, I will always say, is an epitome of a Lutyens’ Zone institution that needs a drastic course correction. However, what is being done in this case is not an appropriate treatment of the malady but an extension of the earlier reign of wrongdoings and unethical conduct”, added the email.
According to the email, the Minister of State, Rao Inderjit Singh, had recently made a personal visit to the club.
In July last year, Bhattacharjee had written email to the FM and the MCA highlighting the abysmal corporate governance in the club. “The Administrator, who had earlier occupied the highest position in the Indian Railways, took over in late February 2021. His performance and track record, after assuming charge, has been woeful. He has attended to his work in the DGC on a very limited number of days. Even assuming that he has been functioning remotely from his residence or some other location, there is not a single tangible contribution he has made. What I am saying can be easily demonstrated if there is a forensic audit of his regime” said the email written in July.
The National Company Law Appellate Tribunal, on February 15 last year, dissolved the club’s General Committee and directed the Centre to appoint an administrator to manage its affairs, after the Ministry of Corporate Affairs moved the tribunal alleging corruption, mismanagement, and nepotism in the club.