New Delhi: According to a report in the DNA, Sports Authority of India (SAI) and Sports Ministry could find themselves in a soup with regards to archer Dola Banerjee's presence on the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna and Arjuna Award committees for this year.
Rules state that any player or official that is being funded by the government or falls under the Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS) cannot be part of such committees. Banerjee, despite being a beneficiary of TOPS funding, was part of the committee headed by Justice VK Bali, which nominated Sania Mirza's name for the Khel Ratna award this year.
National Sports Development Fund (NSDF) recently provided her financial assistance for buying archery equipment worth Rs 2.25 lakh.
Despite HN Girisha's plea in the Karnataka High Court, the ministry went ahead and conferred the award on the tennis star.
"This is really surprising that a current player, who is attending the national camp and getting TOPS funding, was named in the awards selection committee. This is clearly a violation of government's rules and could well lead to legal implications. Her name shouldn't be there in the first place as it not only amounts to conflict of interest, but could also influence the committee's decision in favour of a particular athlete," a senior Archery Association of India (AAI) official told DNA on Friday.
It has been learnt that Banerjee's name was included at the behest of a very senior SAI official. The same official later ordered the AAI to include her name for the national camp despite her poor show at the National Ranking Trials. The AAI official said that Banerjee was not even part of the eight-member group selected for the national camp as she finished 10th in the trials. "But to our surprise, her name was included by SAI when the list was returned to us," the official further added.
However, now AAI has now questioned the SAI on Banerjee's inclusion on the committee.