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Three Bengal paddlers handed two-year ban for age fraud

Bengal paddlers Oishwarya Deb, Suthirtha Mukherjee and Priyadarshni Das were Saturday slapped with a two-year ban and a fine of Rs.25,000 each for misrepresenting their age.

Three Bengal paddlers handed two-year ban for age fraud

Puducherry: Bengal paddlers Oishwarya Deb, Suthirtha Mukherjee and Priyadarshni Das were Saturday slapped with a two-year ban and a fine of Rs.25,000 each for misrepresenting their age.

"The three players, who are already under suspension, will face the ban until January 2016 nationals," Table Tennis Federation of India (TTFI) president Prabhat C. Chaturvedi said in a statement.

"Additionally, TTFI will also be writing to their employers to take appropriate action besides the national federation stripping them of all their national and international titles."

TTFI took the decision at its executive board meeting here. The crucial meeting was attended by 10 of the 12 members. A day earlier, the disciplinary committee met here to suggest the quantum of punishment for the errant players.

The action by TTFI follows a severe indictment by the CBI’s Sports Integrity Cell which probed age fraud cases of several paddlers. The CBI’s probe team found the three players to be guilty of serious violations.

Chaturvedi said the case of a fourth paddler from Bengal, Ayhika Mukherjee, was also probed by the Sports Integrity Cell but it found that the player didn't derive any benefit unlike the guilty three.

“Ayhika, too, had two birth certificates but she was competing in the right age group events and was not found to have taken any advantage. Accordingly, we let her off with this season’s ban (one-year) and no fine was imposed on her.”

Ayhika, who was already under suspension, will be eligible to play from the next season, beginning August 2015.

Chaturvedi also said the TTFI clean-up drive has yielded good results with 44 Bengal and a few Assam paddlers coming forward and voluntarily disclosing their correct dates of birth.

“We had introduced an amnesty clause under which all those players admitting their follies and declaring correct dates of birth will be punished with the withdrawal of titles, if any, while allowing them to play from next season. The committee viewed them sympathetically and considered the action taken as sufficient,” added the TTFI chief.

He, however, warned that with the deadline for voluntary disclosure having come to an end Nov 25, 2014, any player found to be having more than one birth certificate will face a two-year ban and will be stripped of all titles.

In order to check future age fraud cases, the TTFI will impose a two-year ban with a fine of Rs.50,000, said Chaturvedi.

The TTFI president also said that the national federation will be making some amendments to its guidelines on registration of birth certificates as per the 1969 Act (registration of birth).

“This was a suggestion that came from the Sports Integrity Cell and accordingly it is proposed to amend our guidelines on the issue. We would insist that players who have registered his or her birth date one year after, should obtain a judicial order from a First Class Magistrate,” he said.