IOA president Narinder Batra(Image Courtesy: Hockey India)
IOA president Narinder Batra(Image Courtesy: Hockey India)

IOA row escalates, executive committee meeting on cards

IOA president Narinder Batra’s decision to disband and re-appoint bodies, including the Ethics Commission on May 19, has been termed ‘unconstitutional’ by some members.
Lucknow | By Sharad Deep
UPDATED ON MAY 29, 2020 01:45 PM IST

The tussle in the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) has snowballed leading to members on Thursday calling for an urgent executive committee meeting in June.

IOA president Narinder Batra’s decision to disband and re-appoint bodies, including the Ethics Commission on May 19, has been termed ‘unconstitutional’ by some members including secretary-general Rajeev Mehta and treasurer Anandeshwar Pandey. The controversy started one week ago with Batra and Mehta at loggerheads over the latter’s role and responsibility.

On Thursday, Pandey wrote to IOA members saying an executive committee (EC) meeting “should be convened in June without any further delay.”

“In our lifetime we have not experienced such a challenge and also in my period of 40 years association with IOA, I have not seen such violation of constitution and spirit of trust and goodwill.”

“The various letters of president are only proposals to be considered by the EC. Any action of new committee/commission prior to the EC meeting will be violation of IOA constitution and financial proprietary,” Pandey wrote.

He said appointing new committees and commissions will have significant impact on expenditure of IOA and will first have to be approved by the EC.

“While constitution gives certain powers to both the president and secretary general, powers relating to financial responsibility vest with me. IOA has to incur all expenditure as per approved budget and all income has to be duly accounted for under my signature,” he said.

Batra said under the IOA constitution he has the authority to appoint or remove members of a commission.

“I do not find any mention in Rule 18.3 of involvement of Secretary General and/or the President is bound to take advice from Secretary General to form any Committee/Commission,” said Batra.

IOA secretary-general Mehta also supported the call for an EC meeting. He said the EC meeting should not be online but by maintaining physical distancing. “People with valid voting rights would only be allowed to attend,” said Mehta.

“The situation is quite embarrassing for the IOA and things should be sorted out amicably,” he said on Thursday.

Mehta said there is a ‘serious conspiracy’ to damage IOA’s financial strength. “If this isn’t stopped soon, it will have a serious impact of IOA financial strength.”

Mehta said the constitution of IOA has defined every individual’s responsibilities clearly. “Everything is fixed in our constitution and nobody is allowed to interfere in other’s work, but here some people want to grab powers. It should be stopped immediately. In fact, I am not in favour of breaking the norms of the IOA and I wish to work together.”

In a fresh exchange of e-mails on Thursday, Batra sought an explanation from finance committee chairman Anil Khanna on losses incurred due to delay in hotel bookings for the Tokyo Olympics.

“IOA has now incurred a loss of Rs 72,84,600 due to the delay at your end as Chair of finance committee or by the entire Finance Committee. I request for a factual position on the above at the earliest,” he said.

Mehta said there was no financial loss to the IOA and it is entitled to a refund from the hotel.

“The Games have been postponed and we have a foolproof payment system in the IOA. There is no chance of any laxity and the people handling the issue have high reputation and credentials. So doubting their integrity wouldn’t be right. IOA hasn’t lost any money and we have the right to take the money back.”

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