War within IOA: fresh letters to IOC for and against Narinder Batra  

The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) looked a divided house on its President Narinder Batra with one vice-President, Sudhanshu Mittal, seeking an inquiry against him in a fresh appeal to the IOC while another, Adille Sumariwalla, defending the incumbent vigorously.

Mittal, who had earlier written to the IOC alleging irregularities in Batra’s election as IOA President, has shot off another mail to International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach, claiming to have evidence of wrongdoing by the national body’s chief.

Sumariwalla, on the other hand, said he has been deeply pained by Mittal’s “baseless allegations” to “bring disrepute to an honest and hardworking President.”

Bach is yet to respond to any of the mails pouring in, while Batra has claimed to be on the right side in his communication to the IOC boss.

“The admission in Dr. Batra’s message to you (Bach), as ‘Life Member’ of Hockey India to Indian Olympic Association exposed his violation of the law of the land, National Sports Code of India, 2011, which does not permit for voting rights of Life Member in any National Sports Federation in the General Assembly,” Mittal alleged in his latest letter to Bach.

“…I am not and I repeat, that I am not an aspirant for the President’s post in 2021 so Dr. Batra can rest in peace on this issue. However, his fraud, falsehood, wrongdoing, and misdeeds have to be exposed and corrected thus this crusade.

“I will await his detailed reply so that I’m able to open all my cards with facts and documents which will nail his lies and compel his removal,” he added.

Sumariwalla, in contrast, had only effusive praise for Batra in his mail to Bach and accused Mittal of harbouring aspirations of leading the IOA.

Sumariwalla is also the President of the Athletics Federation of India.

“As the only Olympian elected to the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) as its Vice President, it pains me to see such letters of absolutely baseless allegations being circulated to the members of the IOC,” he wrote.

“…members such as Mr. Mittal, are using such tactics to promote themselves as Presidential candidates within the IOA membership, where they have no base or support. Their only aim is to bring disrepute to a honest and hardworking President, Dr Batra,” he said.

“I would like to assure the President and all members of the IOC, that we the Members of the IOA have full faith and confidence in our President Dr. Narendra Dhruv Batra, whom we respect greatly and who has done yeoman service for the promotion of athletes…,” he added.

He urged Bach to treat letters from Mittal with “contempt”.