The All India Chess Federation may be "struggling" on the revenue front and needs the players to part with some amount of their prize-money to meet expenses but it has no problem in paying its "honorary secretary" under three different heads and spending a fortune on his travel.
These and many such irregularities in the AICF's balance sheet have been tabulated by the Chess Players Association of India in an open letter written to the Federation president, N Srinivasan.
"AICF is always projected as being financially 'nearly in the red,' which makes it necessary to take decisions like a 10 per cent cut from player's prize-money," the players said in the letter.
"In an effort to bring into light the abnormal expenditure in running the Federation and discrepancies in Federation's liability as claimed by the AICF secretary, CPAI has prepared the accompanying report."
The players' association has been at loggerheads with AICF secretary PT Umar Koya after he decided to cut 10 per cent of their prize-money to meet the expenses of the Federation last year.
Although the decision was withdrawn later, the Federation is yet to pay the amount, which has been already deducted.
Meanwhile, the Madras high court, in an interim injunction has restrained Koya and treasurer Sowmen Majumdar from interfereing in the day-to-day affairs of the federation after a suit was filed by some state federations alleging that the duo had committed financial irregularities.
In the letter, the players pointed out that Koya, despite being an honorary secretary, has drawn a yearly salary to the tune of Rs 700,000 under three categories -- honorarium to honorary secretary, honorarium as editor of AICF Forum and honorarium as editior of AICF web site.
The secretary had said in an interview to AICF Forum magazine that he takes 350 flights a year and considering that he stays only in five-star hotels, the annual expenditure to maintain a secretary is "exorbitant."
The letter also alleged that the AICF secretary has been misleading everyone by saying that the federation was paying Rs 17 lakh to the world governing body, FIDE, and have quoted the annual budgeted statements of the national body to prove their point.
"The AICF has paid Rs 17,21,044 to FIDE only in 2001-02 and the amount also include the FIDE title fees, which is charged directly to the players.
"The actual payments made by AICF, according to their own accounts statements, for the year 2000-01 was Rs 5,37,275, 2002-03 Rs 5,61,303 and for 20003-04 was Rs 10,25,505.
"The AICF makes payments to FIDE only under three heads -- Membership Fees (CHF 4500 or Rs 1,80,000 maximum), Rating Fees (CHF 4000 or Rs 1,60,000) and Tournament registration (CHG 8000 or Rs 3,20,000 maximum).
"Even if we consider that they make maximum payment the amount does not exceed Rs 7,00,000 and the AICF secretary claims to make payment to the amount of Rs 17 lakh per year," the letter said.
The players also demanded an explanation from Koya on the "exorbitant expenditure" by the AICF Forum, a monthly magazine of the federation, the AICF office and his personal association with Chess India Commerce, Chess India Complex in Calicut and the Chess Academy.
"Is it true that Chess India Commerce, a private venture that provides Chess equipment to AICF is owned by Koya or his family members. Has it been authorised by AICF's General Body for providing its services.
"Also it is mentioned by AICF secretary, in one of his interviews in the AICF Forum, that the Chess India complex and Chess Academy are private ventures.
"Even then AICF funds are allotted to the academy while infrastructure for such camps is available at all major cities in the country."
The CPAI also questioned the payment made to an "unknown" assistant editor of AICF forum and also to a few contributors to the magazine, who they claimed are not bonafide chess writers.
"There have been regular articles by individuals named Nazia Nona, Nadia Nona and others in the AICF Forum magazine. What are their credentials in the field of chess to contribute in an official magazine of the federation?
"During the year 2003-04, Rs 67,500 has been paid towards article contribution while GMs, IMs and other players of our country are not paid for their contributions."