Kolkata: Former Rajya Sabha MP Akhilesh Das Gupta, the current President of the Badminton Association of India (BAI) and other top officials of the BAI like Delhi Capital Badminton Association (DCBA) general secretary Jitender Kochar, DCBA vice-president Harish Ahuja, former secretary of DCBA, Apinder Sabharwal, former treasurer of DCBA, Kamal Kumar Thapar and former member Harish Mittal, have come in the line of fire after they sent their wards to Japan as players for a goodwill trip. Most of them were not qualified as the selection criterion was that the players should be aged between 17 and 23 and should have represented at the regional or state level in their country. Most of these players ‘didn’t’ meet these requirements
The trip which included a tournament was organised in 2014 by the Japanese government in Tokyo as part of a Youth Sports Exchange Programme. According to reports, these ‘players’ were the children and relatives of officials at the BAI and its Delhi unit. The Japanese government had born all the expenses for their trip.
The probe conducted by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has revealed that out of the 23 members of the team, seven were wards and close relatives of the office bearers including that of the BAI chief. The CBI has already sent a report to the sports ministry but there has been no action so far.
Das Gupta said, “It was a city exchange programme and BAI had nothing to do with it. DCBA had selected the youngsters as this programme was between Delhi and Tokyo. It was just not a sports programme but kids had to participate in quiz and cultural events.”
“As far as my daughter is concerned, she went to Tokyo as she was selected by DCBA and I was not part of the selection. The criteria was that youngsters need to have knowledge of badminton. My daughter has won bronze medal in national school championship organised by CBSE. She has represented Delhi,” he said.
(With inputs from Hindustan Times)