By Venkatachari Jagannathan
Chennai, August 24 (IANS) Peace brings prosperity, while lawsuits result in cash and energy costs. This is what the officials of the All India Chess Federation (AICF) and the Chess Association of India (CAI) will vouch for now.
AICF is expected to get richer by around Rs.1.30 crore after signing peace agreements with its rivals CAI and Calicut registered AICF (AICF-Calicut).
A few days ago, the AICF and CAI announced that the latter will merge with the former so that the sport can move forward with a lower number of lawsuits.
“We had approached the new management of the AICF – Sanjay Kapoor, chairman and Bharat Singh Chauhan, secretary – with the merger proposal and the conclusion of lawsuits. They accepted the idea. With this step, the years of litigation will end and people can focus on the game, ”SLHarsh, Senior Vice President, CAI, told IANS.
“It’s to reduce litigation and create a good atmosphere for chess in the country,” Chauhan told IANS.
CAI was a rival organization to the AICF formed several years back and conducted tournaments.
AICF not only brought an action against CAI, but also banned players who had taken part in tournaments organized by its rival.
To resume the banned chess players in its fold, the AICF demanded the full prize money and later part of it from the players who had won CAI-organized tournaments.
The AICF also sought an apology from the players for readmission.
“We had to travel a long distance to deal with the case that was brought in Madras High Court,” said Harsh, a former player and a lawyer who practiced tax law from Rajasthan.
Regarding the legal formalities of the merger, Harsh said AICF and CAI are registered communities. Under community law, one organization can go into liquidation and transfer assets and liabilities to another.
“Although there are no obligations for CAI, there will be some cash balance and some chessboards and watches. These will now go to the AICF, ”Harsh said.
According to him, the state entities affiliated with the CAI may also be merged with the state entities in the AICF over a period of time.
Both Chauhan and Harsh said there was no agreement to offer AICF positions to CAI officials.
“The AICF election is over and no post can be offered to anyone,” Chauhan said.
While the CAI Treaty will bring some money to the AICF’s coffers, it is the peace agreement with the AICF-Calicut that is expected to increase its liquidity.
It was late PTUmmer Koya, a former FIDE vice president and AICF secretary, who had registered the AICF in Calicut in 1991.
Opposite this, chess officials in Tamil Nadu brought a case that said that the AICF, which is registered in Chennai, is the real chess body, which is registered long back and received a favorable verdict.
There is also a case pending between the AICF and the AICF-Calicut.
Under the current scheme, the AICF will withdraw the pending case against AICF-Calicut and get its cash balance.
Calicut AICF funds will soon be transferred to AICF. That’s around Rs 1.30 crore, ”Chauhan said.
Either way, the merger of CAI with AICF, as it looks now, is not going to benefit the players who were banned or who were penalized for their prize money by the latter.
“I welcome the decision of AICF President Kapoor to agree to merge CAI with AICF. But there are some problems, “said Gurpreet Pal Singh, a chess player who was banned by the AICF.
“Over 100 chess players had suffered when the AICF had banned them from playing in CAI tournaments. “To resume them to its fold, the AICF had asked the players to pay the prize won in the CAI tournaments,” said Singh.
“With the merger of CAI with AICF, the next logical step for AICF is to pay back the winnings from the players as a penalty. This will generate goodwill for the AICF, ”Singh said.
He also said that the AICF should also withdraw its appeal lodged with the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) against the Competition Commission of India (CCI) order.
“The case has nothing to do with CAI. We are trying to reduce litigation as much as possible, ”Chauhan said.
Harsh said it is up to the Chess Players Forum (CPF) to take back the refund of the prize money with the AICF.
In response, International Master V. Saravanan, CPF Joint Secretary to IANS, said: “If the AICF had collected the prize money from the players for resumption, it would have to be repaid with interest to them.”
“If AICF wants to be a player-friendly organization, it must withdraw its case with NCLAT and others,” Saravanan added.
It was Singh and Karun Duggal who had brought an action against AICF to the Competition Commission of India (CCI) and received a favorable order.
On July 12, 2018, the CCI had determined that the commitment provided to players for non-participation in events not approved by it constituted “restrictions” and was in violation of the 2002 Competition Act.
The CCI said non-compliance with such an undertaking would result in banning players and removing their Elo rating, creating barriers to entry, excluding competition and restricting opportunities for players.
The CCI also imposed a penalty of Rs.692,350 on the AICF for violating the provisions of section 4 of the Act.
Although the AICF has amended its rules in accordance with the CCI ruling, it has appealed the ruling to NCLAT.
(Venkatachari Jagannathan can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)
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