In an unprecedented development, Justice K. S. Rakhra, a retired judge from the Allahabad High Court, who was the returning officer during the elections of the office-bearers of the Badminton Association of India (BAI) in Chennai, has sought “appropriate action” from the government following the acrimonious election meeting on June 13.
In a letter to the Sports Minister M.S. Gill, Justice Rakhra observed that the whole exercise of election was conducted without him being aware of the government guidelines.
As per the guidelines, no office-bearer of any sports association or federation can seek re-election for a third successive term of four years. Mr. Verma, in this case, had already held the post of the BAI president for three terms spread over 12 years.
In a scathing observation, the returning officer said in the letter, “I have no hesitation in saying that in all fairness, the guidelines should have been brought to my notice by Mr. V. K. Verma in advance and in not doing so, he has fraudulently and deceitfully made me privy to the whole exercise of election, which was conducted without noticing the guidelines of Govt. of India.
“Had the complete and true facts been in my knowledge, I would have declined to associate myself with the election of BAI or would have rejected the nomination of Mr. V. K. Verma for the post of president as invalid.
“I have no intention to take up the matter in any Court or Tribunal or to pursue it at any other level nor it is now in my power to invalidate the declared result but since your Ministry is overall governing body of the sports in the country and since Members of Parliament have also shown their concern on the issue, I think it is my duty to apprise you of full facts so that appropriate action in the matter may be taken at your end.”
When asked for his response on the three-page letter, Mr. Verma said, “First of all, our agenda for the meeting clearly stated that the elections will be held as per the constitution of the BAI. As per the directive of the Indian Olympic Committee to all sports federations, the BAI has not incorporated the government guideline of May 1, 2010 that limits the re-election of its office-bearers.
“Secondly, it is outside the purview of a returning officer to comment on the guidelines. Finally, he has himself written in that letter thathe was not invalidating the declared result,” said Mr. Verma wondering at the futility of the letter written more than a month after the office-bearers were elected unanimously.
It is learnt that the report of the government observer also is not in favour of the BAI.
Keywords: Badminton Association of India