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Written by: Betsy Babu
The ongoing trouble between India's leading professional golfer, Rashid Khan and the Delhi Golf Club (DGC) has reached the doorsteps of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah, highlighting the alleged discrepancies in the functioning of the club and its anti-sports policy.
Rashid, who has been refused to practice at the DGC on disciplinary grounds, has asked for the intervention of Modi and Shah as he thinks that the issue between him and DGC is hampering his preparation for the Tokyo Olympics.
Rashid, who has been at loggerheads with DGC for a long time now, has written an exhaustive 14 page letter to secretary, Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA), Rajesh Verma – addressing a copy each to Modi and Shah.
The letter requested the MCA “To set up a high-level independent inquiry committee to investigate into the violations committed by the DGC and submit its report within a period of two months” beside urging the National Company law Tribunal (NCLT) “To pass an order suspending the general committee of the DGC and for appointment of an administrator, as an interim measure, followed by a final order replacing the general committee of the DGC with government nominees”.
The letter has also been marked to Central Vigilance Commissioner Sanjay Kothari and secretary, ministry of Sports, Ravi Mittal
In his letter, Rashid has requested the government authorities to intervene into the “arbitrary” functioning of the DGC, which according to the golfer, “is being run in a manner highly prejudicial to public interest”, while requesting the bureaucracy to help restore his playing rights at the DGC- which was suspended in January 2019 with an eye on Tokyo qualification.
The letter also mentioned names of leading industrialists and affluent families of Delhi who have allegedly benefited from the existing regime, with their family members getting memberships irrespective of their interest in golf.
"At DGC, I have spent 20 years and they are behaving like this. They never explained to me about the ban from their side. On January 12, 2019, there was some fight and from January 16, 2019, they stopped me from entering at DGC, at least let me know the reason for the ban but nothing as of now has been confirmed to me," he said while addressing the media. The golfer also explained that he has now started practising at other golf courses in order to prepare for the Olympics.
After Rashid and some other fellow professional golfers were banned by the DGC on charges of indiscipline, they had petitioned the Delhi High Court, challenging their ban which they termed "illegal". Later, in May 2019, Rashid and seven other professional and two amateur golfers were detained at the Tughlaq Road police station for three-four hours after they were allegedly refused entry by the DGC staff despite paying the green fee (for non-members). Rashid is not a member at the DGC.
Rashid's plea is that he, along with his group of professional golfers, be allowed to practice at the DGC range after paying the stipulated Rs 300 green fee per day for putting and chipping, so that he can prepare for the Tokyo Games.
Reached for his comments, DGC president, Ravinder Singh Bedi, told the media that Rashid and others are free to approach any forum and that the club would not allow the "unruly" gang of golfers to create nuisance at the facility. "I can't take any decision on my own being the president. The call has to be taken by the DGC's governing council. It's been told to him earlier as well that if he tenders an unconditional apology to the club, regrets his unsavoury public statements and withdraws the legal proceedings, the DGC's governing council might possibly look into his case favourably. But this condition only applies to him and not to his other group members,".
The president further stated the DGC's doors have always been opened for golfers looking to make a mark in the sport. "We have an excellent golf promotion programme going on at the DGC. So many professional golfers come and practice at the club. As part of the programme to promote and nurture upcoming talent, we take 150-200 children under our wings to help them realise their golfing dreams. Some of these kids include the children of caddies and DGC staff.
Rashid's issue is that of indiscipline. Let the powers that be decide the issue. Even if Rashid is raising an issue, he should first talk about himself and not as the leader of the group,"
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