Hockey India (HI) was left-red-faced on Saturday after its all-powerful secretary general Bhola Nath Singh was accused of trying to “extort” Rs 25 lakh from Telangana Hockey unit president Saral Talwar, an allegation which the senior administrator termed “baseless”.
The allegations by Talwar are based on Bhola Nath apparently demanding a huge sum of money lieu of allowing the state hockey unit to conduct elections.
Telangana Hockey’s elections were due in April this year but according to Talwar, HI secretary general has been creating multiple unnecessary hurdles, citing different reasons at different junctures.
“I have always worked for the betterment of the sport and for the welfare and growth of Indian hockey and Indian players.”Bhola Nath Singh, rejecting the allegations of extortion
“The elections were due in April and we were on line to conduct it but an HI official was sabotaging that. HI said there were complaints and we gave an answer to the committee and finally I met him (Bhola Nath) and he said that ‘if you want to get out of it, you have to pay Rs 25 (lakh). It was just me and him in the room,” Talwar told PTI.
“And then he said, he will give seven days time to think about it. I met him on November 3,” Talwar said.
Bhola Nath rejected all the allegations and said he has always worked for the betterment of the sport. “These allegations are completely baseless. I have never taken even 25 paisa from anyone, leave aside Rs 25 lakh,” he told PTI.
“I have always worked for the betterment of the sport and for the welfare and growth of Indian hockey and Indian players.” The problem started when HI under Bhola Nath’s leadership, formed an ad-hoc committee to run the day-to-day affairs of Telangana hockey.
The three-member ad-hoc committee was headed by Chhatisgarh Hockey Secretary General Firoz Ansari and it forced Talwar to lodge the complaint.
Talwar said that they have been trying to conduct the elections from the onset but HI was deferring it citing one or the other reasons, including, non-compliance with its Constitution.
“HI formed the ad-hoc committee was formed almost 3 months back and for the last 3 months it didn’t meet once. They kept on giving some excuses on the other, like our Constitution was not correct, they want to change our Constitution, they they said they want more permanent members.” Talwar said he tried to reach out to HI president Dilip Tirkey, who promised to look into the matter.
“I have written to him (Tirkey) twice before and then again I wrote the last letter to him. I spoke to him also in detail and he said he would look into it but then nothing happened,” he claimed.
“Now I am hoping that a person like Dilip should take action. If not I will see what is the next available action I have.”
Bhola Nath admitted that they had formed an ad-hoc committee to run the affairs of Telangana Hockey as its elections were due in April.
“Yes, we had formed an ad-hoc committee to run Telangana Hockey since they were not being able to conduct their elections since April-May,” he said in his defence.
“When the time comes, I will disclose everything. I know who is after all these dirty things.” Meanwhile, there were also rumours that HI’s long-standing CEO Elena Norman of Australia is set to resign in the wake of this development.
But repeated calls to her and HI president Dilip Tirkey remained unanswered.
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