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CID CHARGE-SHEET PUTS BTC IN THE DOCK
BANGALORE
By Ikram Khan
Wednesday 11 Apr 2018
Ikram Khan

The one thing you can't beat the Bangalore Turf Club (BTC) is for making the big splash and gaining the headlines for all the wrong things. BTC has made it a habit. And it is the game which has suffered the most. The club after losing the fight against the trainers and owners who unitedly put their hands up and closed the door on outstation horses, restricting their participation in the summer season, the outstation horses now allowed only to compete in the highest class and classics, found itself in the dock again following the filing of a 600 page plus charge sheet by the CID on the alleged doping scandal of Queen Latifa almost a year after the investigating agency took up the matter. The detailed report is yet to be made public and one is not sure whether the voluminous report of the CID pertains only to the doping incident or contains an elaborate report about the various questionable dealings of the club that the agency probed in the last one year.

Now, the report is only pertaining to the charge sheet filed against three club officials, former CEO Nirmal Prasad, Chief Stipendiary Steward Pradyumna Singh and Deputy Chief Veterinary officer Dr H S Mahesh and former Steward Vivek Ubhaykar, horse owner and BTC club member Arjun Sajnani and trainer Neil Darashah has been made public. The charge sheet has been filed before the first ACMM court by CID Deputy Superintendent of Police K Nanjunde Gowda.

The present managing committee is perhaps happy that the CID has given an adverse report on some of the functionaries of the club. In the faction-ridden BTC which is hopelessly divided, it all amounts to scoring a point when discrediting the opposition. It won’t be a surprise if more skeletons tumble out not because of any police action but because of internecine quarrels among members. 

With one issue or the other confronting the club, threatening to undermine its existence, the club needs to get its priorities right but unfortunately the focus is only on trivial issues, creating more problems for itself in the bargain. The committee has turned hostile to the media for exposing its dark underbelly. The club is still struggling to resolve the syces demand and the tote operators issue amicably. In addition the devastating effect of GST which has virtually crippled its finances, the illegal bookmakers issue which has made a big hole in the BTC pocket and more importantly the cut in the stakes for the summer season. Well the club to say the least is in Oxygen tent but little or no effort is made to get the mask out and breathe easy. And that's because the committee is happy witch-hunting, not bothered about the promotion and development of sport. 

The employees’ society is yet to conclude the wage settlement with the syces union. The wage agreement has been pending for a year now. The managing committee has not been able to force the bargaining bodies to arrive at an early settlement. If the settlement is not forthcoming, the summer season may well be affected if the syces, who are the linchpins of the sport decide to strike work. And the little bird on the big tree is chirping that it will all happen. 

The turf club also has another difficult problem to negotiate and that is convincing the racehorse owners to accept the proposed steep cut in the stakes for the ensuing summer season. The cost of maintenance of horses is going up each day and in the face of a severe financial crisis brought about by lack of planning and attention to detail the club is unable to steady the rocking boat.