The profile of India’s chief rifle coach, Kanwar Randhir Singh, reads as follows: Accused of embezzling funds of the Himachal Pradesh State Rifle Association (HPSRA), of which he was the secretary-general for over two decades, before being toppled in the 2010 elections.
Randhir has also been held accountable for the disappearance of three .22 rifles, a property of the state unit. A case has been filed against him at a police station in Shimla, according to HPSRA’s secretary-general, Ishwar Rohal. “Charges will be framed against him when the court reopens in March,” Rohal told HT over the phone from Shimla.
Considering the talent in rifle events in the country, with the presence of Beijing Olympic Games champion Abhinav Bindra and London Games silver-medallist Gagan Narang, Randhir’s role as chief coach is questionable. “He shouldn’t be allowed to coach the national team at all,” said Rohal.
As per the first information report (FIR) filed by Rohal on October 23, 2010, Randhir has been accused of misappropriating funds to the tune of R12 lakh; 14 .22 rifles and 46,000 .22 cartridges. Later, Randhir gave details of 11 rifles and R4.5 lakh. “Hence, we are only pursuing the case for the remaining amount and three rifles,” said Rohal.
Randhir was elevated to the post of chief coach in October by the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI), headed by Raninder Singh, and even accompanied the national team to China for an Asian meet in December.
This happened despite the fact that on February 15, 2011, HPSRA had mentioned Randhir’s conduct in its communication to the Sports Authority of India (SAI) and NRAI.
“We will not give him (Randhir) any responsibility in future, including the privilege to vote in the upcoming elections of the national body,” said Rohal.
Brushing aside the controversies surrounding him, Randhir termed the whole issue as a “witch hunt”. He did admit though that a case has been filed against him in Shimla, but said he hasn’t been convicted.
“All the cases are false. I have done nothing wrong. It’s all due to political rivalry,” said Randhir.