Lets get the facts right. The one letter that has the signatures of all the four players comprising the Indian team for the Commonwealth Games does not say that they will not turn up for the event. The one that does has no signature.
This private communication was leaked out to the press by none other than the AITA secretary Anil Khanna who is trying his best to come out smelling of roses through a stink of his own creation. The same man issued another inane press release on Saturday saying he is very pleased to hear the players have agreed to play the CWG.
However, crucially enough, the email sent out by the players only says: “As for the CWG, Mr. Rahul Bhatnagar (sports ministry official) has confirmed to us personally (that) there will be no issues on payments once the AITA releases all the bills we have submitted over time and more.” In all likelihood, the players will turn up for the CWG. The brinkmanship is just a desperate measure to get their rightful expenses. However, they have not said as much just like all of them jointly never said that they would not turn up.
In his efforts to absolve himself of blame, Khanna has consistently been changing his statements over the last few days. He first lied blatantly by denying that any letter existed. Then, he looked to shift the blame on to the Sports Ministry while it has actually been his own federation’s inept handling of the situation that is to blame. Another desperate ploy was when he actually chose to lie again by saying that the AITA has not received any bills from the players. He has also been misleading about having settled Davis Cup dues in entirety.
The players are so fed up with delayed and incomplete payments that they have told AITA that this time around they will not buy their own tickets and hope for a refund later. In fact Paes has not been reimbursed for his travel expenses for even the India-Pak Davis Cup tie in April 2006 or the subsequent ties against Uzbekistan and Korea in February and April 2007 respectively — that’s not even the complete list.
Khanna was pretty quick to jettison the post of treasurer of the CWG organizing committee when a conflict of interest was exposed with his own son Aditya’s company getting the contract to lay the courts for the Games. Now, that the players are on record saying that Khanna has not paid the money due to them, why doesn’t the same morality force him to resign from AITA too? One does wonder what the body’s president and Member Parliament, Yashwant Sinha, is doing to monitor the shady manner in which this Federation is functioning. It is perhaps time the man at the helm actually took charge.