Chennai: All India Chess Federation (AICF) secretary Bharat Singh Chauhan has hit out at rival P R Venketrama Raja faction’s allegations that he “prompted” the resignation of chief selector R B Ramesh and urged the Grandmaster to clear the air.
Ramesh on Tuesday resigned as the chief selector of the AICF alleging “interference” from warring officials of rival factions.
Responding to the development and the subsequent allegations that he was behind it, Chauhan stated, “I am appalled to see a news release issued by Vijay Deshpande on behalf of P R V Raja that says that I prompted the resignation of one of our selectors GM R B Ramesh.”
“This is another attempt for cheap publicity by Deshpande and Raja,” he said in a press release.
“I do not know when they will stop. I urge Ramesh to come out in the open and clarify if this false information is true,” he added.
Ramesh, a former Commonwealth chess champion, said he found it difficult to continue as the selection panel head due to the constant interference in team selection issues and confusion created by federation officials.
Chauhan said: “These people (Deshpande and Raja) have touched the lowest ebb in their lives by sending this press release to malign me. I know that they do not have any morals anymore but what I figured today (Tuesday) was the level at which they can stoop.”
He also denied charges that he tried to help a Delhi player and said: “In the press release it has been mentioned that I was trying to help a Delhi player. If trying to clarify certain things is a problem then I do not have any comments to make.”
Chauhan reiterated that Deshpande was not a secretary of AICF.
“Only elected person can be a secretary of AICF and Mr. Deshpande was never elected as a secretary. The very act of Deshpande to act as a secretary of AICF and writing letter to few players on 3rd July (without following selection criteria and process) saying they have been selected for online Olympiad created uncertainty and confusion on chess in India,” he added.
He also said that players had the right to know the reasons for their selection or exclusion and it was the duty of the secretary to do so.
“Concerned player and Arjun awardee requested the same to be considered for selection process as no one expected epidemic to cancel all the tournaments in last 4 months. Ramesh, in fact, cleared the first team suggested by me and later changed it,” he said.
“Is being transparent about the selection process wrong? Being transparent with players is wrong,” he asked.
“Ramesh resigned not because of me, but because Deshpande had sent a parallel team which did not fulfil the criteria,” Chauhan said.
The Raja and Chauhan factions have been at loggerheads for long over various issues.