New Delhi [India], February 29 (ANI): Outgoing Hockey India CEO Elena Norman has recently filed an affidavit in the Delhi High Court and said, the Inquiry Report on alleged irregularities in Hockey India made various general, vague and omnibus allegations against her, which apart from being over and beyond the mandate of the Inquiry Officer, are also entirely bereft of evidence.

The affidavit stated that the Inquiry Report failed to notice that the CEO was never a member of the Finance and Audit Committee or the Tender Purchase Committee.

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It was also submitted that the various general, vague and omnibus allegations against the Deponent/Elena Norman in the Inquiry Report are entirely sans evidence and made in ignorance of the various sub- Committee Rules of Hockey India (apart from being in violation of principles of natural justice), and thus deserve to eschewed and expunged by this Court.

She also informed the Court that Hockey India has withheld the salary since the month of November 2023 despite her continuing to diligently discharge her duties as CEO of Hockey India and despite the fact that her employment contract is valid and subsisting till 31.12.2026.

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The Deponent is dismayed that despite her long association of almost 13 years with Hockey India, for reasons unbeknownst to her, she is being made to feel unwelcome, is facing a situation where her pay has been withheld, and is forced to presently work in a hostile and uncharitable atmosphere, stated in the affidavit.

The long-serving CEO of Hockey India, Elena Norman had resigned from her position on February 27 after holding the position for nearly 13 years.

In an order passed on May 25, the Delhi HC had appointed three members 'Committee of Administrators' (COA) for Hockey India and said that the administrative setup of Hockey India is erroneously or illegally constituted because of the Life President and Life Members.

The Court in judgement said, The Government of India cannot grant recognition to a NSF whose constitution is not in consonance with the Sports Code. The posts of Life President, Life Member in the NSF are illegal so is the post of CEO in the Managing Committee. These posts are struck-down.

The bench passed the judgement on a petition moved by Aslam Sher Khan, Former Olympian, challenging the lifetime appointment of Narendra Dhruv Batra and Elena Norman as 'Life Member' and CEO respectively having an unlimited tenure with full voting rights in the Executive Committee and the Working Board of the Hockey India.

Court further said, the mere presence of some persons in a Society as a Member or in a meeting, albeit without voting rights can influence independent decision -making and election process. Till such time it is brought in consonance with the Sports Code and as interpreted by this court, its affairs cannot be left in the hands of persons who have no legitimacy.

In the absence of a Managing Committee, elected under a constitution strictly in consonance with the Sports Code and the court judgments, the interests of hockey, its development and the sentiments of the hockey-players, aspirants and enthusiasts should not suffer. Therefore, it would be in the public interest that its affairs be put in the hands of a Committee of Administrators (CoA),said the court.

Accordingly, following three persons of eminence from the fields of law, public administration and elections, and from the sport of hockey at national and international levels, are appointed as members of the CoA, Justice Anil R Dave, former Judge of the Supreme Court, Dr S.Y Qureshi, IAS, former Chief Election Commissioner and Zafar Iqbal, former Olympian and captain of the Indian Hockey team, Padmashri awardee, said the order.

Aslam Khan through plea highlighted the various alleged irregularities and illegalities in the Hockey India (National Sports Federation). Narender Batra and Ellan Norman have been appointed therein as 'Life Member' and 'CEO' respectively having an unlimited tenure with full voting rights in the Executive Committee and the Working Board, in blatant violations of the provisions of the National Sports Code, 2011 and the various Circulars and Guidelines.

Petitioner stated that the various acts of nepotism and favouritism of the respondent Narender Batra and Ellan Norman, is causing loss, financial and other to the sport of Hockey.

The Delhi High Court had earlier made it clear that sports federations that are not complying with National Sports Code cannot be granted recognition and gave a last opportunity to the Centre to show that the 41 NSFs granted recognition were complying with the requirements of the code. The direction came during the hearing of a plea filed by Advocate Rahul Mehra challenging the recognition granted to the 41 NSFs. (ANI)

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