The Delhi High Court has directed orders towards the Amateur Kabaddi Federation of India (AKFI) to organise a selection for the national team on Saturday in New Delhi, with the participation of men’s and women’s players who were selected for the Asian Games and those who weren't. This, after a case was filed in the court by former India international Mahipal Singh against the AKFI on allegations of bribery in the Asian Games selection process.
The bench, comprising of Chief Justice Rajendra Menon and Justice VK Rao had ordered the AKFI to “conduct a selection process which shall commence from 15th September 2018 at 11:00 am.” Delhi High Court Justice (retired) SP Garg will be in attendance at the Indira Gandhi stadium where the selection is taking place, along with an official from the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports. The selection is expected to take place by way of a match between the players who were selected for the Asian Games, and those who went unselected.
“The game will be between the men and women players who represented India at the Asian Games and those who were not picked. They will be from those who attended the national camp. It (the order) doesn’t say that the people who were part of the Asian Games team have to compulsorily participate, but it is left to the good conscience of the players,” Advocate BS Nagar for the petitioner Mahipal told the Indian Express.
Nagar added that he suspects that the selected Indian players might try and find their way out of the game, saying, “On August 31, the players said that this upcoming match is affecting their reputation and that they are injured and what not. They were trying to delay it (the match), saying that it isn’t their fault anyway. They (the Asian Games teams) are afraid that the unknowns might beat them.”
Veteran politician Janardan Singh Gehlot was at the helm of affairs at the AKFI before his wife, Mridul Bhadauria was named the president. Gehlot is currently the president of the International Kabaddi Federation. It was right after the squads for the Asian Games were announced that Mahipal approached the high court with allegations of bribery in the selection process. However, the AKFI decided that a match should take place after the Asian Games were over since the team had already been selected, to decide the legitimacy of Mahipal’s claims.
“It is the responsibility of the AKFI to ensure that all State Kabaddi Associations inform the players about the date, time and venue of the selection process,” the High Court has said. “The entire selection process shall be videographed and the recording thereof shall be preserved by the Sports Association of India and a copy thereof be placed before this court as well. So far as the appointment of the selector is concerned, the selection process shall be conducted by three selectors, who shall be appointed by the Secretary of Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports.”
Both the Indian men’s and women’s kabaddi teams missed out on winning the gold medal at the Asian Games for the first time in history, at Jakarta and Palembang. While the men’s team lost to Iran in the semi-final, the women’s team too lost to the same country in the final.