NEW DELHI: Taking the departmental action against erring NIS Patiala’s executive director, Col. Raj Singh Bishnoi, into the alleged breach of quarantine protocols by three of India’s elite boxers, the Sports Authority of India (SAI) on Saturday temporarily relinquished him of his duties as the NIS ED and ordered him to report back to the SAI’s headquarters here, TOI has reliably learnt.
SAI Sonepat’s regional director (RD), Lalita Sharma has been given the temporary charge of the NIS. She’s expected to report to the NIS campus on Monday. On Saturday, Tokyo Olympic-bound pugilists, Vikas Krishan and Satish Kumar, and pro boxer Neeraj Goyat were asked to leave the national camp at the NIS after the SAI formed a high-level inquiry committee, led by its secretary Rohit Bhardwaj, to look into the trio’s alleged act of flouting the quarantine rule for athletes. Three of them had reported at the NIS this week for the camp scheduled to begin from August 1. A total of 16 boxers (13 men and 3 women) will form part of the camp for the Olympics core probables.
It’s been learnt that Col. Bishnoi will remain stationed in Delhi till the time the committee concludes its probe into the matter and submit the report to DG SAI, Sandip Pradhan. Col. Bishnoi is expected to appear before the committee to offer his side of the explanation and help the panel in understanding the sequence of events. No time frame has been fixed for the panel to submit its report. The committee also includes Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS) CEO, Commander Rajesh Rajagopalan, former hockey coach A K Bansal and SAI Deputy Director (Personnel) Dhandapani Chokkain.
“SAI has instituted an inquiry to investigate the circumstances leading to the alleged incident of athletes flouting the quarantine rule as laid down for all persons entering the NSNIS, Patiala campus from outside. A committee will probe the matter and suitable action will be taken if any personnel(s)/athlete(s) are found culpable of any wrongdoing,” SAI said in a statement.
According to sources, these boxers started mingling with other campers on the campus after their covid-19 test report returned negative, when they were supposed to remain indoors and follow the seven-day quarantine protocol. According to SAI’s initial probe, the trio roamed around freely on the campus, visited the dining area, had their meals in the mess and even spent considerable time with one of the boxing coaches.
The development has come as a big embarrassment for the SAI, which has taken up the responsibility of organising national camps due to the derecognition of all 57 national sports federations (NSFs) by the Delhi High Court. This act will also reflect poorly on boxers since they are the country’s premier pugilists. It’s also the first time in recent history that a disciplinary action has been taken against elite boxers by the SAI for their callous approach.
While men boxers have been quarantined at the STC boys’ hostel polo ground outside the campus, women pugilists (Simranjit Kaur, Sakshi Chaudhary and Sonia Lather) are lodged at a separate accommodation nearby. World No.1 boxer Amit Panghal, too, followed the seven-day quarantine rule at the boys’ hostel.



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