The ongoing Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) saga on Wednesday pulled Hockey India (HI) too in its fold. KPS Gill, who headed the now defunct Indian Hockey Federation (IHF), alleged that there was a “conflict of interest” in the national hockey body, and HI president Narinder Batra denied it.
Gill, in a letter to Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, had alleged that Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s daughter had been hired as a legal counsel by HI when Jaitley was on the advisory board of the Hockey India League (HIL).
Batra said a legal firm Jaitley and Bakshi was hired by HI but it was one among 25-odd firms hired by the national hockey body to fight the scores of petitions filed by Gill’s IHF in India and abroad.
Many legal battles
“Gill filed petitions against us from almost every state in the country and also in Switzerland and London. Over a period of five years, we hired 25 firms to fight those litigations and Jaitley and Bakshi was just one of them. They were involved in fighting a couple of cases in Mumbai related to Hockey India League and the drafting of the franchise agreements… not even two per cent has gone to the firm out of the total legal expenses of `8-9 crore over a period of five years. Besides, we just cannot give the cases to anybody. We have to hire somebody who is a professional and whom I know. All my dealings and balance sheets are on the HI website,” said Batra.
“Had I hired some other firm, I would have had to shell out 4-5 times the amount,” added Batra.
Hockey doing well
“Everyone should be happy that Indian hockey is regaining its past glory. After 48 years, we beat Pakistan in the Asian Games final and won the Commonwealth Games silver; the women’s team earned direct qualification to the Olympics, players are getting good money and the junior team is looking forward to winning a medal in the World Cup,” Batra said.
“All sorts of allegations are being thrown at HI, things like Indian players getting less than foreign players (in HIL auctions). It’s an open auction, who pays what and for which player is not HI’s affair, so how can you blame us for that?
“If Gill has asked the chief minister for an inquiry into the affairs of HI, let them do whatever they want, we are clean. Moreover, we come under the RTI Act,” said Batra.
Categorically denying that Jaitley and he were related, Batra said, “My relationship with Mr Jaitley is the same as I have with Mr Kejriwal, Mr Manmohan Singh, Mr Gill.”