After the All India Football Federation (AIFF) called a Disciplinary Committee meeting to look into the alleged case of forgery of goalkeeper Ravi Kumar's contract carried out by I-League outfit Minerva Punjab, club owner Ranjit Bajaj has vehemently denied such claims.
In addition to that, the club has filed a breach of contract case against Ravi Kumar, who was picked by Indian Super League (ISL) outfit NorthEast United FC in the player draft in July.
Bajaj spoke to Goal at length about the issue and claimed that all Minerva wanted was a fair transfer fee for the player.
He said, "Non-payment (of dues) has not been an issue at all. The other issue is that Ravi Kumar is facing civil and criminal courses in the court here. Their contention is that the contract has been interpreted in the wrong way. There’s nothing about forgery in this case.
"Under Economic offences wing, Ravi Kumar is facing a criminal offence and his lawyer is already been called in as a complaint has been filed against Ravi for taking the money and running off and not keeping to his contract. And if he is proved so, section 120 B of conspiracy will apply as Indian Super League (ISL) club (NorthEast United) have supported him in the contract even though they were informed that he already has a valid contract," Bajaj elaborated.
"Ravi Kumar cannot contact any team as per the FIFA rules because if there’s more than one year left in a contract, no player or agent can contact that player and the only way it (the deal) has to be done is through (contacting) the club. Their contention is that since Ravi Kumar has contacted the ISL himself, you (Minerva) have nothing to do with this so Minerva won’t get the 20 percent (as included in the clause) fee."
Bajaj went on to allege that Ravi Kumar had already extended his contract with Minerva Punjab and received a signing bonus of ₹1 Lakh from the club but has double-crossed the club with the 'forgery' allegations.
"Ravi Kumar, before he went, had signed a one-year extension with Minerva and we gave him ₹1 Lakh advance as signing bonus. He signed the contract and took the advance too. There’s a buyout clause in his contract which says Minerva will get 20 percent if he is sold to any ISL club. Now, we have been told that the club will not get the 20 percent because the club didn’t contact the ISL outfit, it was Ravi who contacted them.
"There is no doubt on the fact that Ravi’s contract with Minerva is a valid one. They (All India Football Federation) have agreed to it too. The only issue is that the club is charged with the offence of trying to stop the sale and jeopardizing Ravi’s career. I still consider Ravi Kumar to be my player," he asserted.
"And the forgery charge being said here is that they claim I have tried to stop the sale by misrepresenting the contract in front of everybody. We have been telling them to give us the notice to tell what according to them has been forged/fabricated/falsified. So we said please give us which documents have been forged - what are you talking about, which part do you indicate at?
"We have requested for the charges (which they claim) and the copy of the complaint since if we do not have those we cannot file a defence. We have still not received it despite asking for it."
Bajaj also revealed that he filed a case against the AIFF and ISL after Ravi Kumar's name was included in the Players Draft in July. He said, "A legal notice was given from my lawyer to the ISL and the AIFF, mentioning that the player is mine and we do not do the business unless we issue a proper NOC (No Objection Certificate).
"There was no reply and they were sold the next day (in the draft). Then my team actually sent them a notice saying this is wrong so they called a Player Status Committee meeting after a month. And they told us to come in two days or else an ex parte decision would be given, so I sent my lawyer.
"When my lawyer requested to talk for 10 minutes, they said you go away, we’ll tell you our decision. Next day we got a decision that the players isn’t yours (Minerva’s) and belongs to the ISL side."