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BTC Steward likely to face disqualification

  February 7 , 2019

The Bangalore Turf Club Steward Mahendra Kuga Shankar could well face disqualification for suppressing the fact that he had a horse in breeding till the year 2015. The Bangalore Turf Club Articles of the Association prohibits anyone from contesting for Stewardship if he has an interest in a horse.

If a racehorse owning member of the club wants to become the Steward of BTC, there should be a gap of three years from the time he stopped owning a horse. Kuga Shankar had a horse which was in breeding. As per the data obtained from the Stud Book Authority of India, he had a mare named Honey Buzzard in the stud farm till January 2015. Kuga Shankar stood for the post of Steward in the year 2017 when under the rules, he was not eligible. As a result, he is likely to face disqualification.

According to the Stud Book Authority of India Register, the mare Honey Buzzard who is by Rebuttal out of Dance Royal was registered as a broodmare with the Stud Book Authority of India on 14-03-2013 and was owned by Kuga Shankar in partnership with Chaduranga Kantharaj Urs. The mare was put out of the stud in January 2015. Kuga Shankar could have contested only after 2018 as a Steward but he contested the election in 2017 when he had not cleared the three-year sanitation period.

The Government of Karnataka forced the Bangalore Turf Club to amend the Articles of the Association in 1985 after the allegation of rigging of races by the horse owning Stewards and their associates who were members of the club and owned horses became a scandal. The infamous case involving Govardhan and Certain Smile is too well known to merit repetition. Certain Smile had won the race start to finish with Govardhan finishing second but following a frivolous objection put by the jockey ostensibly put on the insistence of the connections, the Stewards upheld the objection despite the professional Stipendiary Stewards overwhelmingly voting against upholding of the objection. The then Chairman of the Club put his casting vote to uphold the objection after it was tied at 2-2. There was a police enquiry into the incident and the report submitted by them to the government was damning. The police said that the race result was manipulated to suit the betting interests of the Stewards and that of the owners of the horse who were also influential members of the club. The present Steward Satish Chandra was also an owner of Govardhan.

Following the Police report, the government mandated that no horse owning member should become a Steward. The Articles of the Association had to be amended to bring in this rule, but the club resisted for a while. Racing came to a standstill in Bangalore, with the license to conduct even off-course betting operations having been denied. After the face-off for 55 days, the turf club members relented because many of the racehorse-owning members who had considerable clout ensured that the amendment went through because of their commitment to racing. The government also got the club to put in one more condition that no amendment to the Articles of Association could take place without prior government approval.

The definition of an owner as per the BTC`s Articles of the Association is defined in Article 32. Article 32 (b) says: No Racehorse Owner shall be a Steward in the Managing Committee. Article 32 (c) for the purpose of this Article, a racehorse owner means a person who: i) Owns a racehorse either in his own name or of a relative as enumerated in the Schedule 1 ``A`` to the Indian Company`s Act. or as a lessee; or ii) owned a horse either in his own name or of a relative as enumerated in Schedule 1(A) to the Indian Companies Act or as a lessee at any time during the period of three years prior to the date of filing of nomination.

The Rules of Racing defines the owner as: ``Owner means the legal and not the equitable owner of a horse and approved by the Stewards of the Club and permitted by them to own horses and race them under the Rules of Racing and includes part owner/s. Where the horse is leased, the word owner means the lessee or a part-lessee but not lessor and the lessor of a horse shall be deemed to be having no racing interest in the horse and the interest of the Lessor in such horse shall be subject to terms and conditions of the Lease Agreement between the Lessor and the Lessee. In the case of a horse owned by a Limited Company or a Syndicate, the word ``owner`` means the Company or the Syndicate, as the case may be. Interest means an interest in a horse in any form of ownership, including co-ownership, joint-ownership, partnership, syndicate membership etc and includes interest as a breeder.

Several of the club members are openly talking that Kuga Shankar still has interests in horses and has kept them in the name of the trainer. Dunamis and Air Command are the horses in which he is reported to have a stake. One thing that is clear is that Kuga Shankar spends a lot of time in the stable where these horses are located.

With those governing the sport are themselves guilty of breaching the rules, no wonder the sport is slipping inexorably. It remains to be seen how the mandarins and the members of the club react now that irrefutable evidence is available in the official records of the Keepers of the Stud Book of India which is the organ of the Turf Authorities of India. The Stud Book Authority of India (SBAI) is the nodal agency for all matters concerning registration of breeding establishments, thoroughbred stallions, thoroughbred mares and newly born thoroughbred foals in India. It is responsible to maintain on its record, identification details of thoroughbred horses in India.

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Total Comments : 7
Posted by N Babu on ( February 7 , 2019 )
The Steward should be disqualified because as per the Articles of the Association he owned a horse when he filed his nomination for the post of Steward. The scrutiny committee for the elections also should be taken to task for not meticulously considering the application. The system appears to have failed.
Posted by vsrkrishna on ( February 9 , 2019 )
Not only this.
These stewards and committee members are having bad relations with totalisator staffs and spoiling the decorum and sanctity of race course.
Posted by Shankar on ( February 9 , 2019 )
The document accompanying the article is proof in black and white that the Steward had a horse in breeding operations. It is high time that the BTC Committee asks the Steward to resign or otherwise the rules will have no meaning. They will have no moral right to sit in judgment of racing matters.
Posted by Santosh on ( February 9 , 2019 )
The issue is simple: If you have the rule, respect it. If you think the rules need to be changed, get the consensus to change it. Don`t break it for god sake. Otherwise, there will be no respect for any rule.
Posted by Anand B H on ( February 11 , 2019 )
What Nonsense... Is BTC different than RWITC or RCTC or HRC ???

Most of the stewards in RWITC or RCTC or HRC are owners of many horses and also owning stud farms in India sponsoring rich races and coincidentally winning many of them to ensure the stake money does not go out. A small guy has made a mistake as per BTC rules and is being punished, and if the Turf Authority of India has the guts, then it has to amend the rules of racing and make it common for all racing clubs across the country in the interest of fair racing which will benefit the punter and bring in transparency, after all, we are living in a democratic country. Are we ???

Admin: It is not a mistake. It is breaking of rules. If the members want to change the Articles of Association, they can take permission from the government and amend the articles. As long as the Articles are there, it has to be followed. This rule is not there in other turf clubs. There is no such thing as a mistake. It is deliberate suppression of facts which in legal terms mean perjury.
Posted by Pusces on ( February 9 , 2019 )
Most of the office bearers especially the stewards are horse owners , kept either with the trainer or some benami owner.
The fact that struggling trainers who are mostly lower rung and having 3-4 horses running in their name for years on end without grumbling, and the well heeled owners of KROA cribbing about BTF and sundry expenses all the time, and certain owners who take public transport to the race course , live hand to mouth but have strings of horses running in and out perpetually in the race course are litmus test indicators to my allegation.
Posted by Sumant Dalmiya on ( February 7 , 2019 )
For the purpose of the rules does RACE HORSE inter Alia mean a broodmare also, as per the definition under the rules

If so, then a transgression has taken place

Otherwise most racing men would concur that a race horse does not mean a broodmare, since the latter does not race.

Admin: Yes. The operative word is ``horse'
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