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Olympian Manoj Kumar Seeks PM Narendra Modi's Urgent Intervention to Save Boxing Federation of India

Manoj Kumar

Manoj Kumar

Manoj Kumar wrote to PM Narendra Modi to rescue BFI, which is on the verge of being derecognised by the Sports Ministry for not adhering to the National Sports Code.

Commonwealth Games gold medal-winning boxer Manoj Kumar has written a desperate letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, urging him to come to the rescue of the Boxing Federation of India (BFI) which is on the verge of being derecognised by the Sports Ministry for not adhering to the National Sports Code.

He pointed out that the BFI was mandated by the Delhi High Court to conduct elections for its office-bearers before December 31, 2020 to continue as a national sports federation and to enjoy grants and other privileges extended to it by the Government of India. The BFI is wilfully and knowingly defaulting on this.

“The notification for AGM and elections was sent out to all the BFI units and the election process had also begun, with a Returning Officer taking charge of the proceedings,” Manoj Kumar said on Wednesday, explaining the reasoning behind his letter. “But when BFI president Ajay Singh saw that a strong candidate in the form of Mr Ashish Shelar had filed his nomination to contest for the president, he panicked and postponed the elections,” he charged.

The decorated boxer, who is the Athletes Representative in the BFI Executive Council, insisted that Ajay Singh had no right to intervene once the election process had begun and accused him of taking an arbitrary decision. He accused him of doing this purely to remain in power and to hide his own failure as president of BFI, which has left the federation in the red to the tune of over Rs 6 crore.

“This arbitrary decision to postpone the elections will have grave consequences for us boxers as well as for India, with the international body even likely to impose severe sanctions against the BFI, if not to suspend it,” Manoj Kumar said. “If we could hold elections in Bihar and in Hyderabad if other sports federations can have elections despite the COVID, why couldn’t we?” he asked.

The Olympian outlined a number of instances that underscored the fact that BFI had been administered poorly since Ajay Singh came to power four years ago, with the appointment of RK Sacheti as Executive Director being one of the main grouses of all state units.

“Sacheti’s name had figured high in the 2010 Commonwealth Games scam and multiple raids had been conducted on his house too. Despite that he was given a plum posting by BFI president Ajay Singh, allowing Sacheti to take total control of the federation,” Manoj Kumar said.

“He was instrumental in carrying out fraud in the 2019 India Open in Guwahati, in which Uzbekistan was shown as a participant in its daily draws even though the country hadn’t sent a single boxer for the competition. In fact, one Uzbek boxer was even awarded a bronze medal which is a huge fraud. India can get debarred from world boxing for this,” he added.

Writing about his own grievances, Manoj Kumar revealed that he was being singled out for fighting for the rights of his fellow boxers. “Once, I had written a letter to the sports minister against the injustice being meted out to me and Raj Sacheti threatened me, saying I will pay a huge price for my complaint,” he wrote.