Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Cuttack, Apr 23:
The beleaguered Odisha Olympic Association (OOA), which is already mired in controversies in connection with the Barabati Stadium, is in for fresh trouble with the Odisha High Court slapping notices to its secretary and eight others over the alleged wrongful use of government land leased to it for the stadium in contravention of the terms of the lease agreement.
A division bench of the High Court comprising Chief Justice P K Mohanty and Justice Biswajit Mohanty, while conducting a hearing on Wednesday in a case filed by one Rohan Mohanty, president of Odisha Yuba Manch, issued notices to the secretary, OOA and Odisha Cricket Association (OCA) Asirbad Behera, Board of Cricket Control in India (BCCI), chief secretary, Odisha, secretary Revenue & Disaster Management, secretary Sports & Youth Affairs, Accountant General (AG), collector Cuttack and tehsildar Cuttack Sadar.
The High Court has sought replies within two weeks from all parties concerned.
Mohanty had alleged in his petition that OOA authorities had received money by sub leasing land leased out to them by the government and using land issued to them for development of sports for commercial purposes
The petitioner has stated that in 1949, an agreement was signed between OOA’s then general secretary Bhairab Mohanty and then collector of Cuttack for construction of a stadium for the development of sports in the state. The state government had provided 20.808 acres of land to OOA on lease basis for construction of the Barabati Stadium in the first phase and had subsequently added another 2.705 acres in the second phase. The agreement clearly mentioned that the OOA will use the land only for the purposes of development of sports and that the said land cannot be given to any other agency or individual for use without permission from the Odisha government.
But in contravention of the agreement, an agreement was inked for sub leasing the land to OCA for 25 years on August 23, 2001 without the knowledge of the state Sports department and collector Cuttack.
While the agreement has the signatures of then OOA president Bibhuprasad Sarkar and then OCA president Prabhat Mishra, Asirbad Behera has signed as secretaries of both OOA and OCA. On the basis of this agreement, OCA has taken more than Rs 116 crore from BCCI. The tenure of the lease which ended in 1989 has not been renewed but interestingly, the OOA authorities have subleased the stadium and the gallery to the BCCI, the petitioner added.
Failing to get any positive results despite apprising the Governor, Chief Minister and chief secretary on the matter, he was forced to knock the doors of the court, the petitioner said in the petition.
The petitioner has appealed to the court for an audit by the CAG on the expenditure of more than Rs 116 crore receievd by the OOA from the BCCI and money earned through rent, special audit, renewal of lease and vest management of the OOA with the state government till the issue of illegal sub lease is completed.
Advocate Khirod Rout represented the petitioner in the case. Advocates Tusharkant Nayak, Jayanti Nayak, Surendra Rout and Hemendra Samal assisted Rout in the conduct of the case.