Indian Olympic Association (IOA) and World Squash Federation (WSF) President N Ramachandran has been stripped of an award given to him in 2011 on the grounds he did not meet any of the criteria necessary for the recognition,
Ramachandran, among India's foremost sporting officials and the brother of current International Cricket Council chairman N Srinivasan, was awarded the "Rashtriya Khel Protshan Puraskar" Award during his time as patron of the Squash Rackets Federation of India in 2011.
The honour was instituted in 2009 in order is to “encourage and promote involvement of corporates, voluntary organisations, sports control boards etc., in the promotion and development of sports in the country".
Ramachandran claimed he had spent INR ₹75 million (£750,000/$1.1 million/€1 million) over a period of 10 years to run the Squash and Triathlon Academy in Tamil Nadu, while also contributing INR ₹20 million (£200 million/$300 million/€260 million) to The Indian Squash Academy over the same period.
In 2013 a group of former squash players, however, challenged the Award as well as the changes made to the Selection Committee in 2011 that replaced five Olympians and other players with bureaucrats and corporate nominees.
They accused Ramachandran of submitting false accounts of his contributions to the sport.
This was supported by the Delhi High Court, who found no documentary evidence to back Ramachandran’s claims that he either personally contributed funds or did so through companies affiliated to him, describing it as “exemplifying everything that is wrong in such matters in Indian sports”.
They added: “It would not be unreasonable to conclude that the approach of the Committee appeared to be of genial camaraderie and affinity with the fifth respondent [Ramachandran]– more akin to “well we have heard good things about him, so there is no harm in recommending his name [for the Puraskar].
“The total disregard to the voices of squash players - past or present, and the squash coaches - past or present - in the opinion of this Court, was an insult to the sport.
"No attempt to secure some form of feedback from the users, or ask for tangible materials, apart from what was given, was made by the Selection Committee or the Central Government."
India's Sports Ministry, which has not officially reacted to the decision, was ordered to reinstate the requirement for athletes to be involved among the selectors.
This comes as a blow to Ramachandran as he battles to retain control of the IOA following a turbulent summer in which Hockey India President Narinder Batra called for a Special General Meeting (SGM) to be held in which a decision to remove him could be made.
This came little more than a year after a ban on India was lifted by the the International Olympic Committee (IOC) following the election of Ramachandran as President.
Batra also alleges that, before last year's election, he was offered INR ₹1 million (£10,000/$16,000/€14,000) by an associate of Ramachandran every year in which he remains President in return for supporting his candidacy.
Ramachandran strongly denies such a move and has sent a legal letter to Batra for making such a claim.
With no SGM having been held he appears to have survived the worst of the storm, although Batra has vowed to continue his campaign,
The High Court Ruling is a further blow, particularly at such a crucial time for Ramachandran's squash role, as the sport continues to campaign to be added to the Olympic programme at Tokyo 2020.
“I am travelling at the moment and have not had an opportunity to read the order," he said in a statement following announcement.
"I have the highest regard and faith in the Indian judiciary; however I am disappointed with the decision.
"I will decide on the way forward after I have had an opportunity to peruse the entire order.
"This will not take away my passion for promoting sports/sports administration.”
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