Safdarjung Club: Allegations of Financial Irregularities and Malfunctioning, Management Denies
| Onkareshwar Pandey - 07 Feb 2019

Safdarjung Club:

Allegations of Financial Irregularities and Malfunctioning, Management Denies

  • A few of the bank accounts of the club have been frozen due to the irregularities.
  • Income tax demand in Crores and VAT demands in Lakhs have been imposed on the club due to incorrect financial figures.
  • Minutes of the Last AGM that was held on 24th May 2015 are deliberately not circulated to all the members till date –
  • P&L Account Statements and Capital Budgets of the Club has not been passed by the SJ Club Members in AGM since last 4 years, as no AGM held after 24th May 2015
  • The tenure of this management committee ended on 31st May 2017, however, they are continuing arbitrarily till date without holding the elections.
  • President & Gen. Secy of SJ Club Locked the club when around 100 Members gathered to attend proposed AGM on 26th of Nov 2017 for which due notice was issued to the Management committee.

INDIAN OBSERVER POST

New Delhi, Feb 07, 2019: Delhi’s prestigious Safdarjung Club is in the midst of serious controversy. There are grave allegations of financial irregularities, corruption, malpractices, malfunctioning and different kinds of misappropriation on the present management committee of the Safdarjung Club.

Located at Safdarjung Enclave, a posh locality, barely seven kilometres from the Prime Minister’s house, the management committee of this Club, which has more than 2000 members, mostly elite class of the society, is blatantly and fearlessly violating all kinds of rules and regulations of the society and destroying the dignity and prestige of the Club, according to the allegations made by the members of the Club. 

“Several violations have been committed, authorities have been approached, and some Bank Accounts of the Club has also been frozen, however, the management committee, headed by Adv. Ajay Avinashi, General Secretary & Mr. Kapil Malhotra, President, are running the Club totally arbitrarily,” said Dr. Arun Kumar, a member of the Safdarjung Club and also Chairman of Dignity Restoration & Grievance Settlement Association, an umbrella organisation of around 100 NGOs.

The Safdarjung Club was registered under societies Act 1860 (Punjab Amendment Act 1957) as extended to Union Territory of Delhi under Registration Number S/5648 of 72-73 dated 17th Feb 1973. The present management committee was formed and took charge for maximum period of 02 Years on June 01st 2015, as per Para # 5(b) of Safdarjung Club Memorandum of Association.

The tenure of this management committee ended on 31st May 2017, however till date they are continuing without holding the mandatory elections.

On being questioned on this issue Mr. Ajay Avinashi, the General Secretary of the Safdarjung Club, who is also a practising lawyer replied that, “the last 3 elections of the club have been held by members by approaching the court, so why don’t the club members approach the court for the elections this time also”.

He said, “Since the maintenance and refurbishing work is going on in the Club, so the members have authorised him to continue till then.”

However, he has not sent any copy of such authorisation letter signed by the Club members.

“This is an example of ‘dada giri’ with which the club is being run and how democracy is being taken for a ride by the defunct managing committee,” said a member.

All Rules and Regulations (MoA) of the Safdarjung Club, which were approved by Registrar of the Societies, were followed by various management committees since the commencement of Club in 1973 till 2015. This is  the first time that any committee is trying to violate these rules fearlessly and arbitrarily. 

Several senior members of the committee are worried and fighting to save the Club after finding a number of cases of gross statutory violations committed fearlessly by this management committee.

Here are some brief descriptions of Gross Violations Committed by the SJ Club Management Committee from June 01, 2015 till date.

• Minutes of Last AGM that was held on 24th May 2015 are deliberately not circulated till date – Elapsed Time = 41 Months

“The reason that Management Committee is not circulating the minutes of the last AGM dated 24th May 2015 to all SJ Club Members, is because this Management Committee of its own has mischievously spent lacs of public money on Capital Expenses whereas the SJ Club Members had not passed budget for any amount of Capital Expenditure since 24th May 2015. All capital expenditure incurred by the club are thus illegal as the budgets which are supposed to be approved by the members in the AGM have not been approved as no AGM has been conducted and the last accounts approved by the members are for the year ended 31st March, 2014,” according to the complaint sent to the Registrar of the Society.

The Managing Committee has full powers to manage the affairs of the Club and administer its funds subject to the control of the General Body however this Management Committee blatantly and deliberately ignores the decisions unanimously taken by the Club Members in the last AGM.

It is mandatory that every year SJ Club Members discusses and then only adopt the Managing Committee Annual Report and the Annual Statement of Accounts in General Body meetings that have been duly audited. However it’s not been done since 24th May 2015 till date and amounts to serious financial irregularity of public money, including giving details of expenses that have not been legally approved in AGM. “Only thing we want from Safdarjung Club management is transparency in working, accounts & timely AGM moreover welfare of club members,” said Annu Thapar, member of the Club.  

The Income tax department has imposed demands in crores on the club for not filling information sought by the assessing officer and the assessments being completed ex parte by the income tax department.

“A sum of approx Rs 1.30 crores have been attached and recovered from the club deposits by the income tax department towards the recovery of tax demands. Further annual Income Tax returns that are being filed by SJ Club with financials are not approved by the club members in the AGM as no AGM has been conducted for approval of the accounts after 31st March 2014,” said a member who has in possession the proof of IT Department’s notice.  

SJ Club Members vide Memorandum Dated 01st of Nov 2017 was marked to Honorary President & Honorary General Secretary of SJ Club and was signed by 29 SJ Club Members (Though only 25 Members are required to sign) requesting to “Immediately Conduct Lapsed AGM for Year 2016 and 2017” however the management committee instead of conducting AGM, put Pad Locks on entrance doors thus restricted entry of almost 100 plus Club Members that came to attend AGM on 26th of Nov 2017. “In a democratic set up election should be done on timely basis,” said Mohan Mittal CA and member of the Club.

“The SJ Club Members in AGM have neither discussed nor passed the audited Statements of Accounts including Profit & Loss Account for FY 2014-15; 2015-16; 2016-17 and 2017-18 and gross deliberate violation committed,” the complaint quotes.

“These amounts to serious financial irregularity of public money as Management Committee are fearlessly indulging in expenses of their own will that have not been legally approved by the public (i.e. SJ Club Members) in AGM. We want transparency and timely AGM, and welfare of the club,” said Arvinder PAL Singh, another member of the Safdarjung Club.

According to the members, a few of the bank accounts are also frozen by banks due to these irregularities as they we’re changing signatures of their own without the approvals of general body or registrar of society. 

Here are the Frozen Bank Account Nos.

  • HDFC Bank, Deer Park Branch: 05032000019712
  • HDFC Bank, Kamal Cinema Branch: 198576200024

 

The Indian Observer Post talked to Mr. Ajay Avinashi over phone and requested him to send his reply in writing over the mail, but failed to get any response. He was given three days time and was also reminded through message, but he did not send any written reply.  However, while talking on phone, he denied all allegations.

The fact is, the Govt of NCT of Delhi, Department of Trade and Taxes has demanded an action taken report from the Registrar of Societies on the complaints filed by the members but in spite of lapse of 4 months no action taken report has been provided by the Registrar raising serious doubts on the working of the Registrar of Societies.

At a time, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi led NDA Government in the Centre has launched a crusade against the corruption at every level, and even the state Governments have also become very sensitive towards all kinds of corruption, malpractices, malfunctioning and misappropriations in any institution, be it Govt or Private or even Not for Profit Organisations, a prestigious Club, located in the heart of the National Capital Delhi, has become the cornerstone of corruption.

“Is there anybody to look into the allegations against the management committee of this Club? Can anybody save the honour of this Club, which had several top class citizens as it members?,” asked some members in hope of getting justice.    


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