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Delhi Gymkhana files complaint against retired colonel ex-secy for Rs 2 lakh liquor ‘theft’

Report submitted by Delhi Gymkhana Club panel alleges 'illegal withdrawal' of liquor by former secretary Col. Ashish Khanna (retd) and two other members during lockdown.

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New Delhi: The elite Delhi Gymkhana Club has indicted its former secretary, Colonel Ashish Khanna (retired), and two members, Commander Akhil Sirohi and Raaj Dhawan, for alleged misappropriation of liquor stock worth Rs 2.14 lakh during the lockdown.

A formal complaint has also been lodged with the Chanakyapuri police station.

The Delhi Gymkhana Club constituted a committee on 8 September to look into the shortage of liquor stock. The report submitted by this committee on 15 September, a copy of which has been accessed by ThePrint, alleged “illegal withdrawal” of liquor from the club’s bar stock by Khanna, Sirohi and Dhawan.

While Khanna made liquor allocations without permission between April and May, when he was the club secretary, Sirohi and Dhawan were “likely recipients”, said the report.

“Finally, in view of the findings of the committee that establishes misappropriation of club property and commitment of offence under various provisions of the law, the committee has no hesitation in proposing a thorough police investigation. It is recommended that FIR be registered with the police along with full details without any further delay,” read the report.

Khanna was disallowed a hearing since he was no longer associated with the club when the inquiry began.

Club members ThePrint spoke to said Khanna was asked to leave on 4 August, nearly a month before the inquiry began, with one month’s notice.

Sirohi, who is also the chairman of the ‘Bar Sub Committee’, has denied receiving any illegal stock. He has, however, admitted to meeting Khanna at one of the club’s cottages where the latter had stayed during the lockdown.

Dhawan, too, has denied the allegations, but accepted meeting Khanna during the lockdown.

Also read: Delhi Gymkhana moves NCLAT, says clubs have absolute freedom to govern themselves

Stock deficiency reported on 6 June

According to the committee’s report, the deficiency in liquor stock was first reported on 6 June by the club’s bar manager. The report has also recorded the bar manager’s statement claiming that he had informed Sirohi about the discrepancy.

“It is clear that norms and laws were violated but he (Sirohi) did not take action. Further, he violated a fiduciary responsibility as bar liquor stocks have a significant value,” stated the report.

It also noted that Sirohi’s “culpability was greater” because he had defended Khanna’s continuation as the club secretary at a meeting held on 20 July, though he was aware of the misappropriation of liquor stock by the latter.

“Taken in context of the liquor discrepancy, it is clear Sirohi gave priority to Col. Khanna’s interests over the club’s interests,” the report stated.

‘Khanna gave employees handwritten notes to remove liquor’

The inquiry into the alleged misappropriation began after the club’s finance committee chairman first reported liquor shortage, said the report.

The chairman had checked the stock registers and obtained documents related to withdrawals from the club’s food and beverages manager. Shortage of stock was found to have matched with the liquor withdrawal statement submitted by the head of security to the bar manager between 5 and 6 June.

It was revealed to the chairman that Khanna was also informed about this shortage by the food and beverages manager when he was the club’s secretary. During the inquiry, it was found that Khanna gave handwritten notes to employees to remove liquor and kept it in his cottage.

Also read: Delhi Gymkhana has become a bar, ‘hereditary club’, Modi govt tells company law tribunal


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