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regular-article-logo Monday, 24 June 2024

Indian Olympic Association president PT Usha accuses revolting Executive Council members of trying to sideline her

On Friday, nine EC members had pasted a signed notice at the IOA office premises here, asking "unauthorised persons" not to enter its headquarters

PTI New Delhi Published 08.04.24, 04:09 PM
IOA chief PT Usha

IOA chief PT Usha PTI

Indian Olympic Association (IOA) President PT Usha on Monday said that the revolting Executive Council members were trying to sideline her by their acts of defiance, including issuing termination letters to an official appointed by her.

On Friday, nine EC members had pasted a signed notice at the IOA office premises here, asking "unauthorised persons" not to enter its headquarters. The notice, which Usha termed as "arbitrary", was directed at two recently appointed officials.

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A majority of EC members had earlier claimed that they had signed a suspension order declaring Raghuram Iyer's appointment as IOA CEO in January as null and void. The EC members also claimed that they had "terminated" Ajay Narang from the post of executive assistant to IOA president.

Usha acknowledged the receipt of the termination letter served to Narang by the EC members but rejected it as "absolute nullity".

"It is disheartening to see that we are still not able to work as a team and each of your acts is an attempt to sideline me," Usha said in her response sent to the revolting EC members.

"I am left with no option but to remind you all that the day-to-day administrative functions including hiring and firing of staff is not the job of the Executive Council. As the EC, we should be using our powers and right for much more important aspects of taking the IOA to heights," she said.

"It is directed to the IOA staff to remove any copies of the notice posted within the IOA Bhawan. Further, the IOA staff is instructed to follow guidance and directives from my office via my executive assistant." The internal feud in the IOA, which came out in public in January, is still continuing even as three months are left for the Paris Olympics to begin.

Usha said the continuation or termination of Narang, who was appointed on June 7, 2023, would only be based on her recommendation and not on the "whims and fancies of anybody else".

"The termination documents are an absolute nullity. The appointment of the executive assistant to the president is not within the jurisdiction of the Executive Council and thus the termination is non est and bad in law.

"I am satisfied with the work done by Captain Ajay Kumar Narang (Retd) and do not find any reason to terminate his services," said the legendary track athlete who is also a sitting Rajya Sabha member.

She requested all the EC members "to not act in excess of the powers and responsibilities granted by the IOA constitution and in direct violation of the provisions therein".

"I yet again implore you to start working as a team for the betterment of the athletes and the Olympic Movement in India," she said.

Just a few days after Iyer was made CEO on January 6, 12 out of 15 EC members alleged that Usha "exerted pressure" on them to pave the way for his appointment, a charge the legendary athlete described as "shameful".

Iyer and Narang, however, had been discharging their official duties since being brought on board by Usha, who asserted that she has full confidence in the newly-appointed CEO and there was no going back on the decision to hire him.

The salary of the CEO, which is Rs 20 lakh per month plus allowances (total CTC of around Rs 3 crore per annum), is learnt to be at the centre of the feud between Usha and a majority of the EC members, who have claimed that the IOA president "unilaterally" decided on the matter.

Replying to the charges, Usha said that the appointment of CEO was discussed at length in the EC meeting (in January) and a majority of the members present "ratified" it.

She said most of the EC members recommended a renegotiation of the remuneration fixed for the CEO citing lack of funding at the IOA and it "was reduced by over 30 per cent of the earlier agreed pay".

Usha had also warned the EC members that the International Olympic Committee may intervene and suspend India if they continue to act defiant.

Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Telegraph Online staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.

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