Batra defends decision to dissolve IOA Ethics Commission

IOA secretary general Rajeev Mehta had described Narinder Batra’s decision to dissolve the Ethics Commission, formed in 2017, as “illegal”.

Narinder Batra is currently a member of the International Olympic Committee.

Indian Olympic Association president Narinder Batra has claimed that the body’s constitution gives him the authority to form a committee or commission, subject to approval by the Executive Council or the General Body.

On Tuesday, IOA secretary general Rajeev Mehta had described Batra’s May 19 decision to dissolve the Ethics Commission, formed in 2017, as “illegal”.

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Mehta had said that the term of the commission under the Ethics Rule, which was approved at the General Body meeting in 2018 and signed by Batra, was four years and the president cannot dissolve it two years prior.

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But, Batra said under the IOA constitution, he has the authority to appoint or remove members of a commission.

“I do not find any mention in Rule 18.3 of involvement of secretary general and/or the president is bound to take advice from secretary general to form any committee/commission,” Batra said.

“The AGM or the General House has to work within the boundaries drawn by the constitution and is bound by the constitution and if any time the AGM or EC violates the constitution then the constitution shall definitely prevail,” he added.

Batra said all his decisions to form the committees and commissions were taken as per Rule 18.3 of IOA constitution, and hence, are valid and within the power and authority of the president.

“It is well established that the authority which has the authority to appoint also had the authority to remove. In the present case the IOA EB on recommendation of IOA President on 27th March, 2019 approved for the tenure of the Ethics Commission only up to end of 2019.

“Hence, from 1st January, 2020 it is understood that all the 8 members plus the Chair are deemed as have automatically vacated their position held in IOA Ethics Commission and the letter sent by President IOA in May 2020 is only a formality.”

“Now it is up to the EC of IOA to accept/reject by majority vote the names of Chair & Members of the various committees/commission formed President IOA“.

In his letter to the members of the Ethics Commission, Mehta had said: “Once President Batraji signed on the term of current members as four years in the Ethics Rules of 2018, then by no stretch of interpretation can the term of members of Ethics Commission come to an end on May 19, 2020.”

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Mehta had also claimed that the Annual General Meeting of the IOA held in December 2017 had authorised Batra and himself to appoint/nominate chairman/convenor/ members of the commission and committees and that he has not given any consent to new appointments or removal.

On this, Batra said: “Mr N Ramachandran was the president and the chair of the meeting of the 14.12.2017 and You (Mr Rajeev Mehta) were the secretary general. I got elected as president in that AGM as president and technically I take over from the next day i.e 15.12.2017. So in real time, I was not the president for this meeting on 14.12.2017.”

Batra is currently the president of the International Hockey Federation (FIH) and is also a member of the International Olympic Committee.

Khanna asked to explain losses in hotel bookings for Tokyo Olympics

Narinder Batra on Thursday demanded an explanation from Anil Khanna on the losses incurred due to delay in hotel bookings for the Tokyo Games. The budget shot up Rs 73 lakh due to the delay.

In a letter to Khanna, who is also the IOA’s senior vice-president, Batra talked about how the delay in clearance on his part for booking 15 twin rooms, affected the top sports body’s finances.

“You as chair of Finance Committee, in your own wisdom decided not to clear it in June 2019 and kept pending by (sic) finally clearing it in February 2020 when the rate was almost USD 1080/1090 per twin room,” Batra wrote, mentioning that the earlier rate was USD 725. The booking was for 18 nights.

“IOA has now incurred a loss of Rs 72,84,600 due to the delay at your end as chair of finance committee or by the entire Finance Committee. I request for a factual position on the above at the earliest,” he added.

The 2020 Tokyo Olympics, originally scheduled for July-August, was postponed to next year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.