Former kabaddi players defend AKFI president

New Delhi: Former India kabaddi players on Tuesday shot off a letter to Sports Minister Jitendra Singh, requesting his office to initiate an inquiry into the "false charges" made by Arjuna awardee Ashan Kumar against Amateur Kabaddi Federation of India (AKFI) president, Janardhan Singh.

The letter, signed by nine Arjuna awardees and Asian Games gold medallists, alleged that Kumar, formerly the coach of Iran during the 2010 Guangzhou Asian Games, has an "ulterior motive" to dethrone India from the top position in Kabaddi world.

"Right from the day of his return from Iran, he wanted to become the coach of the Indian team and is still trying to be the Government observer. His ulterior motive is to ensure that India is toppled from its top position in Kabaddi," the letter stated.

"Ashan Kumar was the coach of the Iran team during the 16th Asian Games. Iran won silver medal in men`s section and bronze in women`s section having lost their respective matches to India. During the matches, Kumar was found using abusive language against the Indians and often picked up fights with our coaches. This clearly showed the intention of Kumar.

"We had reasons to believe that Kumar was part of the Iranian conspiracy to ensure gold medal from India was snatched by hook or crook as they had so far failed in doing so at the field of play by legitimate means," it was alleged in the letter.

The outburst by former India internationals came in response to allegations levelled by Kumar that Singh got his wife, Mridul Bhadauria, elected as the federation chief through illegal means in the annual general meeting and elections of office bearers in Jaipur recently.

Kumar had also written a letter to the Sports Minister and demanded an immediate inquiry into alleged "hijacking" of by Singh.

Kumar had moved the Delhi High Court against the elections that were scheduled for today. The court, on May 17, had directed the federation that the validity of the results of the elections would be subject to orders passed by them.

In Tuesday’s letter written by the former players, it was requested that Sports Ministry initiates an inquiry against Kumar and verify his credentials as a coach.

"We are not only shocked but are deeply disturbed having read the news that Ashan Kumar is making false complaints on the issue of elections of AKFI. We request your good office that an inquiry should be conducted to probe all the charges and to unearth the conspiracy against Indian kabaddi.

"We also demand that it should be found out whether Kumar obtained the permission of the Government of India or the Federation to be coach of the Iran team. The focus of inquiry should also be extended to his earnings in Iran and declaration of such earnings before Income Tax and other statutory bodies. Is he in contact of Iran after 2010 should be another area of probe," the letter said.

The players placed their "100 per cent" trust in Singh.

The letter has been signed by Navneet Gautam, Rakesh Kumar, Anoop Kumar, Cheralathan D, Manjeet Chiler, Samarjeet, Ajay Thakur, Jeeva Kumar and Jasmer Singh.