Veteran sportsperson and Kerala Sports Council chairperson Anju Bobby George on Thursday complained to chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan, alleging that state sports minister EP Jayarajan had verbally abused and threatened her when she called on him.
The minister was in news last week when he condoled the death of former world boxing champion Muhammad Ali and said it was a great loss as he had won many medals for the state.
Anju said the minister has threatened her and other members of the council when they assembled at his office for a customary meeting with him. She said he was furious for the delay in calling on him and he threatened them with dire consequences, saying that the LDF was in power.
“I told him that sportspersons have no politics or religion. For us, sports is everything. I don’t think sports sector will benefit under the minister,” she said. Though she was willing to resign, she was advised by the chief minister not to precipitate the issue.
Jayarajan has denied the allegation, saying he only asked her about her frequent air trips to Bangaluru. But Anju said her post was honorary and her air travel was sanctioned by the earlier government. “When a minister is appointed, he should have some minimum knowledge about his department. He insulted us and called us corrupt,” she said, adding that she was pressurised to take up the post during the last government.
George said once the new minister assumed charge, he cancelled many transfer orders. When she brought up the issue before him, she said he again threatened her.
Opposition Congress has asked the CM to rein in the minister. “He’s on a mission to bring enough shame to the state. He should apologise to the veteran sportsperson,” said opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala.
The chief minister later said Jayarajan did not misbehave with George and the issue would be sorted out amicably.
A former long-jump national champion, Anju won gold medal at the International Association of Athletic Federation in 2005. She retired in 2011. She was made sports council chairperson last year.