The Sports Authority of India (SAI) has a problem on its hands, and it has nothing to do with athlete training or tournament preparations.
What’s got its undivided attention these days is the pilferage of money from the donation box of a shrine on the premises of the Karni Singh Shooting Range in Tughlakabad, south Delhi.
A few employees — under contract for maintenance and security of the premier range that has produced some of India’s finest shooting stars — have been taking ‘loans’ from the collection box, according to a complaint forwarded to SAI by a former shooter.
The complaint even accuses two SAI employees of using money from the box to travel to Kerala in February for the National Games.
The theft was corroborated by the presence of ‘receipts’ left behind by these employees — who apparently did not want to incur the wrath of the ‘peer baba’ to whom the shrine is dedicated.
Following checks by SAI secretary Hira Ballabh, a departmental inquiry is underway.
The IOU notes reveal two porters ‘withdrew’ Rs 15,000 while a security guard took a sum of Rs 2,000. The complaint alleges “funds deposited by worshippers are being used for private purposes”.
Following the discovery, the box — which held Rs 51,000 in cash — has been removed and a register placed to keep tabs on visitors.
None of the top officials at SAI — including director-general Injeti Srinivas and Ballabh — were willing to comment. But shortly after HT starting looking into the story, Srinivas ordered that the collections be donated to the Prime Minister’s Relief Fund.