Karate association secy held in Mumbai for forgery to avail govt privileges
Mumbai police have arrested the secretary of the Karate Association of India (KAI), Bharat Sharma, from Delhi in connection with a cheating and forgery case registered in 2019 for an elaborate fraud he is suspected to have committed.
Sharma and other office bearers of KAI allegedly forged documents and fraudulently represented themselves as representatives of the All India Karate-Do Federation (AIKF) to the World Karate Federation (WKF). They then got the AIKF’s name changed to KAI and got it fraudulently recognised by the WKF, the police said.
Sharma and his colleagues made false representations to the ministry of youth affairs and sports and the Indian Olympic Association (IOA), enjoyed many privileges and received government funds, the police complaint states. HT reached out to Kiren Rijuju, the sports minister, who said he was aware of the case, but did not offer any comment.
Ananda Hodage, senior inspector of MRA Marg police station in Mumbai, confirmed Sharma’s arrest.
“Sharma, who was arrested on February 13 from Delhi, has been charged with sections 465 (forgery), 468 (forgery for purpose of cheating) 471 (using as genuine a forged document) 419 (cheating by impersonation), 420 (cheating), 34 (common intention) and 120B (criminal conspiracy) of Indian Penal Code. Presently he is in police custody. He would be produced in court on Tuesday,” said assistant police inspector Himmat Jadhav, who is investigating officer of the case. “The accused with their fraudulent acts cheated AIKF and the government of India and enjoyed many government privileges and received government funds,” he said.
Mumbai police are likely to elaborate on how much money was siphoned off in the fraud in their second remand application on Tuesday to seek further custody of Sharma.
“The unauthorised association, which does not even have any legal existence in National Sports Federation, siphoned huge amounts of government grants and moneys from young aspirants of karate by misrepresenting before the Indian Olympic Association and internationally before World Karate Federation,” alleged advocate Sandeep Sherkhane, who is representing the complainant in the case.
“AIKDF is the only legally recognised and genuine Association for Karate in India. As a result of this fraud recently no representation was given to Karate from India in the international tournament of Olympics,” said Priyanka Chhabria, also an advocate for AIKDF.
Sharma has been arrested on a complaint filed by Nandji Prasad, secretary of the AIKF. Prasad stated in the FIR, a copy of which is with HT, that AIKF is a recognised trust that encourages young talent in karate and also trains and grooms potential karatekas for the Asian Games and other International Olympic Committee-recognised tournaments. Karate was made a part of the Olympics for the first time in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, deferred until this year because of the Covid-19 pandemic, with eight gold medals on offer.
“KAI is an illegal body and they also got recognition from the government showing the World Karate Federation etter in 2014,” alleges Nandji Prasad, the general secretary of AIKF.
The sports ministry declined to comment on the issue.
The FIR filed by Prasad also names Thiyagarajan and another KAI office bearer, Virat Vaccha.