Panel to look into Batra’s match-fixing allegation

3-member team will submit report to HC

The Delhi High Court on Wednesday ordered formation of a three-member committee to look into table tennis player Manika Batra’s allegation of a match-fixing attempt by the national coach.

Justice Rekha Palli gave the direction after Ms. Batra alleged that on one occasion, the national coach, Soumyadeep Roy, put pressure on her to throw away a match to enable one of his personal trainees to qualify for the Olympics 2020.

The 26-year-old said she not only refused to comply with such “unethical, illegal and immoral request”, but also immediately communicated this to the adviser, Table Tennis Federation of India (TTFI).

Taking a serious view of the allegation, Justice Palli said that based on the committee’s report, she would consider the issue of appointing an administrator to run the national sports body. The High Court said the committee will comprise two judges and one sportsperson.

The court further clarified that for the time being, except for informing the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) about the withdrawal of all action against Ms. Batra, TTFI would not write to the international body regarding her. If ITTF needs any information, TTFI would transfer the request to the three-member committee, the judge said.

The Commonwealth Games gold medallist and Khel Ratna awardee, who was left out of the Indian contingent for the Asian Table Tennis Championships, alleged that TTFI was carrying out its selection processes in a non-transparent manner and targeting certain individuals such as herself.

Ms. Batra had claimed that she was being targeted by the national federation for raising her grievances in the court and now the international federation was also treating her like an accused.

Senior counsel Sandeep Sethi, appearing for TTFI, informed the court that the executive board of the sports body has decided to recall the show cause and all consequential actions against the paddler.

Additional Solicitor General Chetan Sharma said he agreed with the High Court, remarking “there is a rot that needs to be stemmed”.

Considering the Centre’s inquiry report, which was filed in a sealed cover, the High Court had noted that no fault could be attributed to the player. The court will hear the case again on December 20.

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