IOA chief to FIG: ‘GFI president has no time for gymnastics’

Batra said in the letter that “all is not well in the Gymnastics Federation of India and a smokescreen has been created (to show) that legally all is well”.

The Gymnastic Federation of India (GFI) headed by Sudhakar Shetty has the backing of the Federation Internationale de Gymnatisque (FIG) even though it remains de-recognised by the Indian sports ministry since 2011.   -  GETTY IMAGES

Indian Olympic Association (IOA) President Narinder Batra has written a strong letter to the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG), alleging that the head of the national federation Sudhakar Shetty has no interest in the sport and is even unaware that his signatures were “forged” by other officials.

Batra said in the letter that “all is not well in the Gymnastics Federation of India and a smokescreen has been created (to show) that legally all is well”.

He asked the world body to look into the governance issue of the GFI.

The GFI, which is slated to go to polls on November 3, has been mired in factionalism for some time, with rival groups claiming the right to run the sport in the country.

The faction led by president Shetty is recognised by the FIG but does not have the recognition of the Sports Ministry and the IOA.

 

In a letter (shared with media) addressed to FIG President Morinari Watanabe and General Secretary Nicolas Buompane, Batra said: “I have been made aware of the situation within GFI almost by over 12 months that the GFI president is hardly aware of anything going on in GFI ... and does not have time for GFI.

“I was informed that the signatures on letters being sent under the name of GFI President are being forged by one gentleman by the name of may be Mr Deepak and he also had passwords of the emails...all emails/along with letters to FIG were being done by him only and it was known that the GFI president may not be aware of many things,” the IOA chief wrote in his letter.

In a letter dated October 1 and addressed to Shetty and copied to Batra, the FIG had asked the GIF to get its electoral college for the November 3 elections approved by the IOA chief.

Batra said in a telephonic conversation, he asked Shetty whether he knew of this October 1 letter from the FIG and his (Shetty’s) subsequent reply letter on October 7 wherein he said that the conditions prescribed in the letter (of October 1) of the world body were not required.

“Mr Shetty categorically told me that he has not seen the letter sent by FIG on October 1, 2019 wherein FIG wants verification of electoral college by IOA president. Mr Shetty,” Batra further wrote in his letter to FIG, dated October 13.

“On my second query that he had sent a three-page letter signed by him to FIG on October 7 saying that the conditions of the FIG letter of October 1 are not required.

“Mr Shetty was very clear in confirming to me that he has not seen or signed any letter or authorised for electronic signature on October 7 which has been sent to FIG from his side and the letter could be under his forged signature.”

Batra said that Shetty further confirmed to him that a person was faking/forging his (Shetty’s) signatures and he had asked the GFI office to terminate the services of that person.

“But I informed Mr Shetty that the same forged signature which was coming one year back was the same as that of October 7 letter.

“I also informed Mr Shetty that the letters and e-mails under his name till three months back were being sent from Ahmedabad and Navi Mumbai and for the last three months from Gurugram.

“It is entirely up to him as to how he puts his house in order and adopts good governance practices within his office.”

The IOA chief also wondered how the list of voters in the electoral college has been constantly changing and reduced to 17.

“The voter list from 17 goes to 20 then to 22 and back to 17, why and how? In 2015 there were 17 members, they become 20 in 2018, then 22 in 2029 and once again in 2019 they become 17.

“I personally will have no issue if I am not wanted to verify the list of voters (in the electoral college) as I do not want to be a roadblock to anyone. FIG may look into the governance issue of its member unit from India (GFI).”

Shetty was unavailable for comment.