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Ministry to take action against chief pistol coach

The Sports Authority of India (SAI) has taken a serious view of the conflict of interest involving chief national pistol coach, Mohinder Lal, and is likely to take stringent action against him. Ajai Masand reports.

other Updated: Jul 27, 2013 01:22 IST
Ajai Masand

The Sports Authority of India (SAI) has taken a serious view of the conflict of interest involving chief national pistol coach, Mohinder Lal, and is likely to take stringent action against him. Lal was the government observer for shooting when he accepted the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) offer to be the coach late last year.

As per the sports ministry’s directives, holding two posts amounts to conflict of interest.

Speaking to HT, sports secretary, PK Deb, said, “There is a conflict of interest in this case and we will press for his (Lal’s) removal as chief coach. I have spoken to the DG, Sports Authority of India (SAI), and action is imminent.”

HT is in possession of the list of government observers (GO) appointed for a term of two years from May 31, 2011, and Lal and Moraad Ali Khan were appointed for shooting. NRAI president, Raninder Singh, said Lal’s term as GO has expired now, “So, he could remain the national coach”.

But he conceded that Lal had breached the government directives from the time he became coach till his two-year term as GO expired, as he started working in October 2012, eight months before the expiry of his term as GO. The govt rules also state, “You (GOs) may confirm that you will not be associated as office bearer either during your term as observer or until two years of demitting charge as observer.”

A senior NRAI coach said on condition of anonymity, “Though Lal is not an NRAI office-bearer, the fact that he was selected and recommended to SAI by the federation (SAI is only the approving authority), and that his job entails actively working for the NRAI, adds the element of conflict of interest.” Lal has been to multiple World Cups and international competitions this year while holding both posts. The ministry guidelines are so stringent that GOs have to give an undertaking that they have no conflict of interest with the persons being considered for selection into the teams for which selections are being made, and they must excuse themselves from the entire selection process if any candidate is their trainee or relative.

A chief national coach gets a monthly remuneration of R50,000 from SAI, while a GO gets a “fixed monthly honorarium” of R10,000 and is entitled to TA/DA when he travels in connection with discharge of his duties.

Clash of interest
Interestingly, the second GO, Moraad Ali Khan, continues to be the chairman of the NRAI’s athletes’ commission, and recently headed the probe into the alleged sexual harassment charges against two male shooters in Suhl, Germany.

Besides, he had also filed his nomination for the post of secretary-general during NRAI elections held on April 6, 2013, and took active part in the politics of the federation. But he withdrew his nomination due to lack of support.

The International Shooting Federation guidelines too are clear on appointment of officials to athletes’ commission. They should be active shooters, while Moraad has announced his retirement. That is the reason he could apply for the post of GO, which is reserved for athletes who have hung up their boots.