The Chandigarh netball team was disqualfied from the 35th National Games, now being held in Thiruvananthapuram, on hursday after officials found that a player who was not there had been shown as a member of the team.
The games netball competition director Lalit Jiwani also lodged a complaint of cheating, forgery, breach of trust and criminal conspiracy against the players, coach, manager, executives and the selection committee of the Netball Association of Chandigarh with the local police.
The supposedly 14-member Chandigarh netball team had only brought 13 players to the games, but collected 14 accreditation cards and were constant in their reply that the 14th player was absent from the stadium but present at the hostel as he had fever.
“Chandigarh played their match against Maharashtra in the morning session on February 2 and some players complained to us about the missing player. We decided to take up the matter later and allowed the team to play in the evening session against Punjab,” said Hari Om Kaushik, secretary general of the Netball Federation of India, while talking with Chandigarh Newsline from Thiruvananthapuram.
He said on Wednesday, the full team did not come for the photo session. They said that the player was in his room and ill, but on checking the hotel, nobody was found there, said Kaushik.
“They had taken accreditation cards of 14 players before the tournament. That’s why the competition manager filed the FIR,” said Kaushik.
An enquiry by the Netball Federation of India found that one player had not even arrived in Kerala for the games, but somebody else had been found to be signing under his name in the records all these days, said a games official.
The player in question is Pulkit Sood, who works with a private firm in Chandigarh. Balram Singh, manager of the Chandigarh netball team, said they had done nothing wrong.
“Three of our players were supposed to reach Kerela on the day the competition started. Unfortunately, Pulkit could not get leave and we returned his accreditation card at the reception on February 2,” said the manager.
Chandigarh officials described it as a case of vendetta and said they would approach court.
“The national federation has been targeting us for some time. It was done to favour Karnataka in the play-off match,” said R Sharan, secretary of the Netball Association of Chandigarh.
(With inputs from agencies)