Harbhajan’s Khel Ratna snub: Punjab Minister orders probe into alleged delay

Harbhajan Singh's nomination for Khel Ratna award has been rejected by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports (MYAS) on grounds that his documents reached late.

Harbhajan has requested Punjab Sports minister Rana Gurmit Singh Sodhi’s intervention in the matter and the minister subsequently ordered a probe into the alleged delay in sending his documents to the centre.   -  Getty Images

The Punjab government has ordered an inquiry into the allegations levelled by veteran India player Harbhajan Singh that delay in paperwork on the part of state’s sports department was the reason for not getting prestigious Khel Ratna Award.

The off-spinner’s nomination for Khel Ratna award has been rejected by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports (MYAS) on grounds that his documents reached late.

Harbhajan requested Punjab Sports minister Rana Gurmit Singh Sodhi’s intervention in the matter and the minister subsequently ordered a probe into the alleged delay in sending his documents to the centre.

“I have ordered an inquiry into the matter. The director (Sports) has been tasked to carry out the inquiry,” Punjab Sports Minister Rana Gurmit Singh Sodhi told PTI on Wednesday.

In a video uploaded on his twitter handle, Harbhajan claimed he had submitted his form for the nomination on time to Punjab Sports department.

“I have come to know through the media that a file recommending my name for Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award, sent by Punjab government to the Centre, has been rejected as the papers reached very late,” Harbhajan said.

“I understand that because of the delay, my nomination will not be considered for the award this time, and thus I will not get it,” he rued.

Harbhajan claimed that he furnished the relevant documents on March 20 but now he understands that there was a delay in sending his papers to the centre that ultimately led to his rejection.

“As far as I (can) recollect, I submitted papers on March 20 to your (Sodhi) office and this form was supposed to reach Delhi within 10-15 days. (I don't know) why it was not submitted on time. Had this form been submitted on time, I probably would have got the award this year, which comes as a motivation and encouragement for any sportsperson,” he further said.

The cricketer, who is the third highest wicket taker for India in Test cricket requested the minister to re-send his application for next year.

“If such delays continue to take place then players will lag behind which is not right and I hope you (Sodhi) will take action on it and forward my nomination again to the government of India,” said Harbhajan.