The Sports Authority of India (SAI) is likely to suspend one of its key project officers for allegedly tampering an official document pertaining to the Indian wrestling contingent’s upcoming tour to the USA for taking part in the Dave Schultz Memorial International tournament.
The project officer for wrestling, Satish Rana, has been accused by SAI director general Jiji Thomson of manipulating the Annual Calendar for Training and Competitions (ACTC). According to Thomson, Rana gained access to classified files, which contained annual programme of the wrestlers, as approved by the Wrestling Federation of India and SAI at the start of the year.
He then replaced the programme for the David Shultz wrestling tournament, which begins in Colorado on January 30.
“The ACTC is like a bible to us because it contains the programme for all the sports for the entire year. We prepare our budget based on it. According to the original plan, we were supposed to send seven wrestlers and one coach to the tournament in USA,” Thomson said.
“However, Rana tampered with the document and reproduced the page. Instead of seven wrestlers, he put 15; named two coaches in place of one and added two officials to the list who were never a part of it.”
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The issue came to their notice when SAI found the name of coach Kripa Shankar, who is blacklisted by them, on the ‘tampered’ list. Kripa Shankar is blacklisted for allegedly misbehaving at SAI’s Sonepat Centre, where he was the chief wrestling coach. He is accused to have threatened Sonepat centre’s regional director Radhika Sreeman at gun point after he was asked him to vacate the premises last August.
“One of our directors spotted his name on the list and when we dug deep into the matter, we realized that the entire list has been tampered with,” Thomson. “Rana is likely to be suspended for his actions. We will also take up the issue with the wrestling federation.” Rana vehemently denied the charges levied against him. He said such an incident has never taken place and only one name was added to the original list of seven wrestlers.
“That was done because of the new regulations and weight categories introduced by the international wrestling federation. Only one name was added and I did not gain access to any ACTC document or forge any list,” Rana said.
Wrestling federation’s general secretary Raj Singh, too, came out in support of Rana. “We requested them (SAI) to send eight athletes instead of seven because of an additional weight category. I am not aware of anything like that (list being tampered). Why would Rana do such thing? He wouldn’t gain anything from it,” Raj said.
Raj, in fact, criticized SAI for not clearing the name of world championship bronze medal winner Bajrang Lal. “It has robbed him of a chance of competing against some of the top wrestlers from the world in his new weight category. Unfortunately, he will not get that opportunity as his name has not been cleared,” Raj said.