NEW DELHI: A week after TOI exclusively reported in its March 25, 2021 edition how four horsemen of Indian nationality represented Nepal at the Tent Pegging World Cup qualification event in Greater Noida last month, the Equestrian Federation of India (EFI) finally took cognizance of this scam at its Executive Committee’s meeting here.
In what can be termed as a face-saving move, EFI has constituted a five-member panel to conduct an inquiry into the entire incident. The panel comprises of Col. Satya Solanki, Col. JS Maan, Col. Rakesh Nair, Kevic Setalvad and Naresh Tehlan.
The committee has been tasked to submit the report by April 15. According to the minutes of the meeting, the committee will primarily look into four major aspects:
a) Whether the nationality of the Nepali riders was checked? If not, who was responsible for the same?
b) Verifying the authenticity of the communication received by EFI from the participating nations, including participating athletes.
c) Investigate and identify person/persons responsible for making Indian riders participate on behalf of Nepal.
d) Was adequate procedures followed to obtain necessary security clearances of the participating players from the Ministries of Youth Affairs and Sports, External Affairs and Home Affairs?
The EFI will also file a First Information Report (FIR) and Dr. Sanjay Gupta has been tasked to do so on the federation’s behalf.
The Executive Committee meeting, which was thinly-attended, was chaired by Lt. Gen. PR Venkatesh, one of the two vice-presidents of EFI. The others in the meeting were: Col. Jaiveer Singh, secretary general, Lt. Col. MM Rahman, joint secretary, Col. PP Singh, Col. SS Ahlawat, Harish Khokhar, vice-president (finance), Col. Vikas Thakur, Dr Sanjay Gupta, Lt. Col. DP Nanda and Dr SY Quraishi, the court-appointed observer.
TOI’s repeated calls to Col. Jaiveer Singh, the secretary general, to get his reaction went unanswered.
Giving details, a top source within the EFI told TOI, “Initially, we had got to know that Bahrain, Belarus, Pakistan, Qatar, USA, Russia and Sudan were coming to participate in the tournament. And India was there as the host country. But in a few days, apparently Bahrain, Qatar, Russia and Sudan pulled out. The committee should investigate if all these teams had shown eagerness to participate. All the documentation must be there with the International Tent Pegging Federation, EFI and the respective federations of these countries.
“Besides, the role of Equiwings should also be checked since it was EFI’s organizing partner for the World Cup qualifier. Whatever inquiry happens and its results – everything should come out in the public domain.”