Punjab’s sports minister said Wednesday that he had ordered a probe into the allegation that a delay by the state’s sports department in submitting paperwork resulted in former Indian cricketer Harbhajan Singh’s nomination for the prestigious Khel Ratna Award being rejected.
The nomination of the Punjab player for Khel Ratna was rejected by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports (MYAS) on the grounds that the state government missed the deadline to send the nomination.
Punjab Sports minister Rana Gurmeet Singh Sodhi intervened after Harbhajan requested him to look into the series of events that led to the delay.
“I have ordered an inquiry into the matter. The director (Sports) has been tasked to carry out the inquiry,” Punjab Sports Minister Rana Gurmit Singh Sodhi told PTI.
The 39-year-old off-spinner uploaded a video on his Twitter handle claiming that he had completed all the formalities.
“I have come to know through media that a file recommending my name for Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award sent by Punjab government to the Centre has been rejected with the reason being that papers reached very late,” Harbhajan said in the video.
“I have come to know that because of delay, my nomination will not be considered for this award this time and because of which I will not get this award,” he said.
https://t.co/pG3lRHHqli Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award: पंजाब सरकार खेल विभाग की लापरवाही पर Harbhajan Singh का बयान
— Harbhajan Turbanator (@harbhajan_singh) July 30, 2019
According to the off-spinner, he submitted the documents on March 20 but the delay in sending his papers led to the rejection.
“As far as I (can) recollect, I submitted papers on March 20 with your (Sodhi) office and this form was supposed to reach Delhi within 10-15 days and why it was not submitted timely. Had this form submitted timely, I probably would have got the award this year which comes as a motivation and encouragement for any sportsperson,” he said.
The Chennai Super Kings (CSK) cricketer also requested the minister to re-send his application for next year after the faux pas this year.
“If such delays continue to take place then players will lag behind which is not right and I hope you (Sodhi) will take action on it and forward my nomination again to the government of India,” said Harbhajan.