A fully paid junket in Tokyo hosted by Japan in 2014 as part of its government’s Youth Sports Exchange Programme has put top office-bearers of the Badminton Association of India, including its president and former Rajya Sabha MP Dr Akhilesh Das Gupta, under CBI scanner for alleged fraud and nepotism.
According to the CBI, the officials connived to send their wards to Japan as players for the goodwill trip. The agency has registered a preliminary enquiry against them.
As per the probe agency, most of the children of office-bearers of BAI and its Delhi unit -Delhi Capital Badminton Association (DCBA) – posed as players, despite never having played in any state or regional-level tournament.
The selection criteria stated that the players should be aged between 17 and 23 and should have represented at the regional or state level in their country.
However, the BAI and the DCBA did not conduct any trials for selection, nor did they publish any advertisement for the same. The CBI has already sent a report to the Sports ministry but no action has been initiated yet.
Japan hosted the junket for these `players'. As per CBI sources, the agency acted on information that BAI and DCBA officials had indulged in favouritism while selecting the 23 players who were sent to Japan in 2014.
The tournament was organised by the Japanese government in Tokyo as part of Youth Sports Exchange Programme. The players were accompanied by two supervisors.
The Japanese government paid all the expenses as the aim for the exchange programme was to promote Japanese culture and values among the youth of Asean countries.
Besides Akhilesh Das Gupta, who is son of former UP CM Banarasi Das, other top officer-bearers, including DCBA general secretary Jitender Kochar, DCBA vice-president Harish Ahuja, former secretary of DCBA Apinder Sabharwal, former treasurer of DCBA Kamal Kumar Thapar and former member Harish Mittal are also under scanner for having allegedly short-listed their wards and kin for the trip.