Leaked e-mail trail reveals infighting in Indian Olympic Association

A simmering feud between Indian Olympic Association (IOA) president Narinder Batra and secretary-general Rajeev Mehta’s became an open battle when an email exchange between the two officials was made public. On Thursday, Batra sent a mail to Mehta detailing how he wants to “take over” Mehta’s work so that Mehta can spend “more time with his family”.

“I have decided to take over/divide much of your work load and will be doing the needful in days to come…since I am Delhi based…Your very important advice will always be sought,” Batra wrote, adding that Mehta will then be able “spend more time with his family” and take care of his business in Nainital, Uttarakhand.

Mehta shot back a reply saying if Batra was so interested in taking over the responsibilities of IOA secretary-general, he should have chosen to fight for the post in 2017.

“IOA office is open and I got reports on every work in the office, as on today,” Mehta replied to Batra. “As for your desire to take over some of my responsibilities, I may inform you that I am perfectly comfortable with the workload assigned to me…if you had such desires of doing day to day affairs, I would have stepped down from office in 2017 and you should have contested as Secretary General of IOA.”

Mehta then took a dig at Batra’s workload—“you should spend quality time with your family in Delhi while you continue your work with Hockey India and the International Hockey Federation for the advancement of Hockey.”

Batra is also the president of hockey’s global governing body, FIH.

“The whole thing has put IOA in a bad light. Is this the time to do all this when federations are trying to manage training of athletes in the middle of a pandemic,” said an official.

IOA treasurer Anandeshwar Pandey has also shot off a letter to Batra saying everyone’s role in IOA constitution is well defined. “No office bearer is above the constitution, “ he said.

He pointed out that any changes can only be made through a general body meeting.

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