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Sprint queen runs into ED hurdle

india Updated: Nov 15, 2007 02:42 IST
Ramesh Babu
Ramesh Babu
Hindustan Times
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Sprint queen PT Usha, who missed a medal at Los Angeles Olympics by one hundredth of a second, has shot off a letter to the Minister of State for Finance complaining that she’s being harassed by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) over her upcoming project Usha School of Athletics.

In a letter to finance minister SS Palani Manickam she said her husband was being interrogated by the ED officials like a criminal despite the fact that the paperwork of her school was in order.

Her dream project ran into rough weather recently after controversial realtor Pharis Aboobacker's revelation that he had contributed lakhs of rupees to the Usha School of Athletics.

“The ED officials have summoned my husband and school secretary recently. During the inquiry the ED official's tone was threatening and he treated us like smugglers. I suspect the ED's intention is malafide and it wants to tarnish my image,” she complained in her letter. Fearing more interrogation and harassment she has asked the minister to intervene.

“Due to mental and physical harassment I cannot concentrate fully in public and private life as well as my school project activities,” she said in her letter.

“I strongly believe that it is an insult to the 30 years of service I rendered to the nation. If it continues it may affect my life,” she complained. When contacted ED officials refused to comment.

She had also held a press conference in Kozhikode recently, saying vested interests were trying to derail her project. Replying to queries on her institution accepting over Rs 10 lakh as donation from Pharis, who is facing a vigilance inquiry, she said her school was receiving donations from several quarters and the businessman's contribution was one among them.

“Pharis Aboobacker was just one of the many people who have helped the school. He had promised us Rs 1 crore to set up a sports medicine centre, but we have received only Rs 10.5 lakh so far,” she said. Pharis was in news recently after he donated Rs 5 million for the CPM-sponsored Nayanar memorial gold cup soccer.

After hanging her boots in 2000 she had set up Usha School of Athletics in her native town Koyilandi (Kozhikode) aiming an Olympic medal by 2012. Many renowned personalities like Narayana Murthy (Infosys mentor), PNC Menon (Sobha Developers) and Dr Muhammed Ali (Gulfar group) have extended their help to the school to be completed by 2010.