Tarn Taran senior superintendent of police (SSP) Manmohan Kumar Sharma had a free holiday in Iceland recently as an Indian badminton player sent there to compete. It's now time to pay, as chief minister Parkash Singh Badal wants him to explain.
Reacting to the HT report on how the senior police officer, 46, and badminton coach Apinder Sabharwal, 49, were selected over genuine budding players to represent India on the recommendation of Punjab Badminton Association (PBA) general secretary Rajinder Kalsi, the CM has called it "unethical and very bad". "There is no place for favoritism in sport, and I will ask for explanation from the SSP," Badal said on Friday in reply to a question during a sangat darshan (public contact) programme at a Phagwara village.
The CM directed his special principal secretary, S Karuna Raju, to issue an order from the chief minister's office (CMO) to seek explanation, and get him the officer's reply. Over the PBA recommendation controversy, the CM said the state governments had little right to interfere in the functioning of the sports bodies regulated by national federations.
Trouble also brews for PBA general secretary Rajinder Kalsi, whom Badminton Association of India (BAI) president Akhilesh Das has asked to explain how unsuitable players were sent to the $50,000 prize money tournament held between January 22 and 25 in Iceland capital Reykjavik.
"After the BAI got to know about the invalid recommendation, we had asked both unsuitable players on January 16 to pull out of the tournament. But since their names were with the world federation already, they got their visa and the Iceland tour," said BAI director coordinator TPS Puri, adding: "It's a major mistake by Kalsi and the BAI president has sought reasons for it."
The SSP and the coach are registered with the Chandigarh and Delhi associations, respectively. "It's a matter of investigation how the PBA recommended the people not even registered with them as players," said the BAI coordinator.
"Kalsi must have clout in Indian badminton to be able to pull this off. The role of the BAI is also under scanner," said a senior player.