National badminton coach Pullela Gopichand termed the petition filed by shuttler Prajakta Sawant as “false and malicious” in his affidavit submitted to the Bombay High Court on Wednesday.

Th Sawant, in her petition, had alleged mental harassment by Gopichand after she was refused entry to the All India National Coaching Camp in Hyderabad.

However, Badminton Association of India (BAI) and Gopichand refuted all allegations of favouritism towards certain badminton players during selection of national team and filed an affidavit in response to Sawant’s petition.

Sawant in her petition had also alleged that Gopichand, being the chief national coach and a member of the selection committee of BAI, promoted players from his own private academy Pullela Gopichand Badminton Academy.

Gopichand, in his affidavit, said, “The contentions in the petition are false, malicious, vexatious and devoid of merit and should be dismissed.”

The High Court, on its last hearing, had raised questions on whether it was ethically correct for Gopichand to run a private training academy and observed that it was not in the best interest of justice.

In response to this, the BAI in its affidavit claimed that the job of the chief national coach in the selection committee is to only apprise other members about the fitness and performance of the players.

“It is mandatory requirement as per government guidelines that the chief national coach be a member of the selection committee. The selection is based on merit and performance and no partiality or bias is shown towards any player. The final selection is cleared by the Union Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports,” the affidavit filed by BAI’s general secretary Vijai Sinha said.