Nagpur: Shatrughna Gokhale, the Shiv Chhatrapati Award winner and basketball coach and mentor, has strongly protested the decision of Maharashtra Olympic Association (MOA) to allow unregistered and non-affiliated Maharashtra State Basketball Association (MSBA) in MOA election scheduled to be held on September 24. Gokhale has termed the MOA move as illegal and sought the intervention of NCP leader Ajit Pawar in the matter.
Addressing a press conference in the city, Gokhale further said that he has produced all documentary proofs showing that MSBA is not a registered association either under Societies Act or Maharashtra Public Trust Act to the MOA. Also, for the want of same registration, MSBA is no longer an affiliated unit of Basketball Federation of India (BFI).
He recalled that the matter was first intimated to MOA way back on 23.9-2019 requesting them to take necessary action. Again, when the elections were scheduled in April this year, he had reminded MOA via email dated 18.3.2021. Later on, the elections were postponed due to Covid-19 pandemic and rescheduled on September 24.
“We came to know through newspaper reports that the MOA continued with the inclusion of name of MSBA in MOA elections. Subsequently, Adv Milind Deshpande filed objections with the Grievance Committee constituted for MOA elections. The committee comprised of Adv Dilip Hande, Shantaram Jadav and Shrirang Inamdar. Adv Deshpande also intimated the sameto Election Officer S N Sardesai along with all the documents. Jayant Deshmukh, Secretary, Amravati District Amateur Association, Jitesndra Shinde, Jalgaon District Basketball Association, Prof Shashikant Nandgaonkar, Washim District Basketball Association, and he himself, filed objections with the Committee on 13.9.2021 along with all documentary evidences,” Gokhale stated.
Gokhale lamented that the Grievance Committee never called them for the hearing and decided the matter without giving them a chance to appear before the Committee. “It is against the principle of natural justice to decide the matter without calling them for hearing. Moreover, the Committee never asked the MOA nor MSBA to produce the BFI affiliation letter or registration details under Societies Registration Act or Public Trust Act. The Committee also did not verify it from BFI whether the MSBA is affiliated to it or not. Instead, the Committee decided the matter saying both the representatives were present in the record of MOA by rule. They never mentioned by which rule of constitution of MOA, the MSBA representatives are in the list,” he claimed.
“The BFI, in a letter to the Election Officer, has informed that Maharashtra State Basketball Association is not an affiliated unit of Basketball Federation of India. In view of this development, we again requested the Election Officer to verify and check the authenticity of the voters and candidates and if found not legal he should not allow that voter or candidate take part in the elections,” Gokhale asserted. But the Election Officer, appointed by MOA itself, overlooked the facts and documents and did not respond to objections and even the BFI correspondence with him, he added.
Others who were present at the press conference include Dr Dhananjay Welukar and Jayant Deshmukh.