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BTC gets a reprimand for its high-handedness

  April 28 , 2018

The Managing Committee of the Bangalore Turf Club is proving to be brazen, lacking in dignity in their actions. They are turning into oppressors and they are sure to pay the price for this soon. The limits of tyranny are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they torment.

They sacked their Senior Communications Manager who had been working for more than three decades without giving any reason or framing charges. This was done out of prejudice and to deny the person concerned any benefit which he would have been entitled to if he retired or resigned. He was reportedly told that he cannot enter the premises of BTC again. Is this the way to treat a senior staffer?

Lokendra Babu, the sacked SCM was not the one to take it lying down; he knocked on the doors of Karnataka High Court with a writ petition. Finding merit in his petition, the court granted interim relief. Finding itself on the back foot, the BTC promptly requested Babu to resume duty. Justice Bopanna who had earlier provided relief to BTC to alleviate the suffering of daily wage employees noted that even if it (Babu`s) was a contractual appointment, the manner of termination required to be investigated. The judge observed that his services cannot be dispensed with in this fashion. Surely a slap in the face of this disgraced managing committee, which acts first and thinks later.

Ever since the new DCEO was appointed, there has been strife all round and in the remaining four or five months service that he has, he is sure to cause more havoc and damage to the institution. He has made every employee unhappy. He had to publicly apologise after his actions prompted a flash strike by tote employees, resulting in the cancellation of races. He spoke poorly of the tote employees which caused widespread condemnation. He is hell bent on creating problems and wants to sack several employees who have been working for decades. He claims that he is a socialist, but he is an anarchist.

All that he is trying to do is to ensure that seniors are out of his way. The DCEO was known to fight with everyone giving it an ideological twist but he stands exposed by his activities in the last few months. Uday Eswaran who was nominated as Steward by the club without having any requisite experience or having held any responsible position, was a party to sacking of the official which boomeranged. Surely, he has a great deal to answer along with the Managing Committee which endorsed his decision because the sacking has put the BTC in poor light. His conscience should force him to quit.

The BTC is rudderless as its chairman has become a dummy. This is what he is reported to have expressed with his close associates. He has no support in the committee as he became a Chairman with government`s blessings. He doesn`t mind any ignominy if he can stick to his chair. His immature committee members are showing scant regard for acceptable norms of behaviour. They believe that they can do anything and get away.

Luckily, we are living in a democratic world where undemocratic actions as the one taken by BTC will be thrown out of the wind by institutions that are there to protect citizens rights. The BTC also forced one of its medical doctors to resign all because the committee is on a vindictive mission. In the name of cost-cutting, they are planning to victimize so many employees that there is surely going to be a turmoil. The BTC is no doubt staring at a financial crisis, but it is a self-inflicted one because of the fight with the government which had seen racing action stopped for four months resulting in the loss of income which worked out to around Rs 25 crores. Despite all the crunch, BTC Committee is guilty of wasting so much money on legal matters and on needless litigation which are all prohibitively expensive. BTC`s worst enemies are its members. The majority are silent spectators while the minority are running riot.

The BTC committee comprises of individuals who are strong in their own opinions but are seemingly ignorant of the rules. No wonder ignorance has been the weapon of these people. In most establishments, dissensions are thrashed out in general body meetings and thereafter, normalcy is restored to the situation. Old actions are not taken up nor do they become reasons for appointing an enquiry committee. But in BTC, it seems, the members have taken the avatar of modern-day Kauravas and are always itching for a fratricidal war.

The BTC Managing Committee has formed an enquiry committee to investigate the commissions and omissions of the previous managing committee. The enquiry committee is consisting of two people who were in the previous committee to inquire into the conduct of two Stewards namely Prakash Rama Rao and Kumaraswamy. The report was confined to the dustbin. Once again, the committee has appointed an enquiry committee headed by one of its members Kodandaramaiah. One is not sure what the fate of the report would be because even before the committee could sit and act, a couple of members have resigned. Those who have been called to appear, have refused to come before the committee which is nothing but a witch hunt committee. Incidentally, these witch-hunting committees with Kodandaramaiah as its head have both been formed when Harimohan Naidu has been the chairman.

The Monitoring Committee which was set up by the government with much fanfare to protect the integrity of the sport has proved to be a disaster. Three members of the club who were retired government officials were nominated and since they are part of the system, they are up to their own politics. The Monitoring Committee wrote to the Managing Committee that those who have been charge-sheeted in the Queen Latifa case should be kept under suspension. If the mere filing of charge-sheet is reason enough to suspend to protect the integrity of the club, then many more illustrious members must be included. The Managing Committee and the Monitoring Committee is playing politics at the cost of the good image of the sport. One of the officials is reportedly keen on resigning but the Managing Committee is not permitting it because it wants to place him under suspension! They also don`t want the official to get away from the cesspool that is BTC and get a job elsewhere.

Who knows, tomorrow there could be a fresh demand from certain sections of the members to form an enquiry committee to investigate the commissions and omissions of the present committee! Some of the members are carrying heavy baggage and will stand exposed if is a serious probe is conducted.

In an attempt to hide their inadequacies, the establishment`s worthies have embarked on an intimidation mission against journalists. Although our constitution guarantees its citizens the freedom of speech, the BTC mandarins are trying to violate this fundamental right through undemocratic acts which, in the long run, are bound to backfire on them. They are being naïve in presuming that they can cover their misdeeds through intimidation.

It`s an open secret that good governance has never been the BTC committee`s forte. Therefore, Harimohan Naidu, Satish Chandra, Mahendra Kuga Shankar, who are the elected Stewards, should ask themselves whether they have brought any glory to the club. Interestingly, one of these worthies even had the gumption to threaten that they (the BTC committee) will finish off the Press!

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Total Comments : 11
Posted by Ex-committee member on ( April 28 , 2018 )
The BTC Committee members are too thick-skinned to be affected. As the saying in Kannada goes, ``Yemme mele male suridante``. Nothing moves them as they have no conscience.
Posted by Ex-Steward on ( April 28 , 2018 )
It is unbelievable. I never thought that politics in BTC has reached this level. Shame on the Committee members. They all look like morons.
Posted by aj on ( April 29 , 2018 )
bunch of jokers at BTC all they know to do is pose for pictures after evert trophy distribution they even know how to conduct races? they are not even fit to conduct rat race.hypocrites!!!
Posted by Wayne Wood on ( April 28 , 2018 )
Loved your well-written article on BTC pointing out the incapacities of the DCEO both in the position and his inability to relate to people in a civil manner. He must be retiring age. I still feel the Government should let the racing be run by a private company.
Posted by Vedika on ( April 28 , 2018 )
Now the managing committee is thinking of sacking tote operators who have taken the initiative to form employees union.if they do that racecourse may have to be closed for long and ultimatelyBTC may be closed permanently.
Posted by Member on ( April 28 , 2018 )
The BTC Committee has forcibly made its doctor resign. The doctor was working for more than 20 years and he knew what exactly the fitness of jockey meant. Now the club depends on Apollo hospital doctors. The bills only inflate. Instead of cost-cutting, they will only end up paying huge bills. The hospital is not going to run free service and now that the club is totally dependent on them, the charges will be suitably hiked. The DCEO needs to be retired immediately and his perks settled so that he does not cause more damage by his advice. The BTC Chairman either should stand up or resign. Satish Chandra is a hopeless person. I am disappointed with the performance of Kuga Shankar whom I thought was a responsible person. The less said the better about nominated stewards like Kiran Basappa and the rest. Kiran was involved in sand purchase scandal which was also enquired by the CID. He also damaged the track by his immature ideas which resulted in so many good horses losing their racing career a few years back.
Posted by n shivakumar on ( April 28 , 2018 )

Posted by Jones on ( April 28 , 2018 )
In Australia, they have a saying `keeping the bastards honest`. I`m glad we have someone like you to do this in Indian racing.
Posted by Anguished on ( April 28 , 2018 )
It is a shame that BTC is acting in this fashion. It is time the government put sense in BTC. The monitoring committee has failed the purpose for which it was set up for.
Posted by Chandulal on ( April 28 , 2018 )
Your article is an eye opener for one and all. It is because of strong democratic institutions that you could write what you wrote. BTC is on a downward tailspin. Instead of concentrating on racing and how to get the GST council to lower tax rates, they are indulging in all cheap tricks.
Let’s hope the nightmare ends soon.
Posted by Watcher on ( April 28 , 2018 )
The government should be a Racing Commission on the lines suggested by the Justice R J Kolah committee which made this recommendation to the then Ramakrishna Hegde government. The committee had studied the functioning of BTC for a couple of years and had come with an elaborate report to bring integrity into the sport. Sadly the government did not act on the report as the government changed soon after and their priorities also changed. Karnataka Racing Board as suggested by the Racing Commission is the need of the hour.
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