Punjab: Distribution of sports kits during Congress regime under AAP govt’s lens

Published on Jul 14, 2022 09:21 PM IST

The Punjab sports minister has reportedly marked an inquiry into alleged irregularities in distribution of sports kits during the previous Congress government

The action came after a former Punjab Civil Services officer alleged embezzlement of funds allocated to distribute sports kits to over 85,000 players in the state during Congress regime. (HT File Photo/Representative)
The action came after a former Punjab Civil Services officer alleged embezzlement of funds allocated to distribute sports kits to over 85,000 players in the state during Congress regime. (HT File Photo/Representative)
By, Ludhiana

The Punjab sports minister has reportedly marked an inquiry into alleged irregularities in distribution of sports kits during the previous Congress government.

The action came after former Punjab Civil Services officer and sportsperson Iqbal Singh Sandhu alleged embezzlement of funds allocated to distribute sports kits to over 85,000 players in the state.

In December last year, the government had transferred 3,000 each directly into the bank accounts of sportspersons in Punjab to buy kits, comprising a tracksuit and two pairs of shoes. It is alleged that the sportspersons were then approached by their respective coaches, who asked them to draw a cheque or demand draft for 3,000 in the name of three particular firms to buy the kits.

After Sandhu approached sports minister Gurmeet Singh Meet Hayer with a complaint about these alleged irregularities during the Congress regime, Punjab sports director Rajesh Dhiman was tasked with an inquiry.

Confirming it, the minister said on Thursday: “We are getting a detailed investigation done pertaining to the matter (of sports kits) to establish who are the culprits and mastermind behind it. Appropriate action will be taken against those found guilty.”

As part of the inquiry, Dhiman had sought written explanation from all 22 district sports officers (DSOs) in the state by July 8. They were asked to reply as to why 3,000 each transferred directly into the accounts of players by the then state government were taken back by their coaches. It is learnt that Meet Hayer himself chaired a meeting with the sports director and all DSOs on Monday.

According to a person who attended the meeting, the DSOs claimed that they received verbal orders from the then sports director to ask the coaches to make all sportspersons draw cheques to buy sports kits in the name of particular vendors. Similar claims were made even in the written replies submitted by at least one of the DSOs, it has been independently verified. Meet Hayer, according to the person cited above, directed the DSOs to only act on written orders in future.

A senior coach based in Ludhiana told the Hindustan Times, on the condition of anonymity, that they were forced by the department officials to take cheques from their students in the name of the three particular firms. He also alleged that even at the time of submitting the list of those training under them, the officials had forced them to add more names of needy players.

Meanwhile, sports director Rajesh Dhiman said that a report has been submitted to Meet Hayer. “We had sought an explanation from the DSOs and the findings have been forwarded to the minister for further action,” he said.

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