The drama between Anju Bobby George and EP Jayarajan at the Kerala State Sports Council (KSSC) raises questions of responsibility and at the same time of politics in sports.
When it comes to the matter of responsibility, the question raised is whether Anju Bobby George, the first athlete from the country to win a medal in World Championships in athletics, has done her duty with total justice to the post she holds as the state’s sports council president.
When it comes to the politics, is this a deliberate move from the part of the Left Democratic Government (LDF) to swap Anju from the position to give the post to the person they like?
The answer is not easy as the post of Sports Council President (or Chairperson as its website says) is a one which the government has the last word.
Even after the controversial meeting between the state sports minister, EP Jayarajan and Kerala State Sports Council (KSSC) ended, the controversy it has sparked is still sullying the environment.
The controversy is stepping up into next level as allegations regarding Anju Bobby George’s brother Ajith Markose is being debated across the formal official bearers of sports council.
Padmini Thomas, the Arjuna Award recipient and the former athlete who is also the former President of the Kerala State Sports Council told The Kochi Post that, “The criterion behind the appointment of Assistant Secretary of KSSC refers that the particular individual should be a graduate and should also have National Institute of Sports (NIS) diploma certification. It also says that the candidate should have enough qualification in the field of physical education”.
There were allegations that, Ajith do not have the desired qualification to be in the Assistant Secretary post of the council and it was Anju’s influence which has given Ajith the job.
Padmini Thomas added that, “During my tenure Ajith Markose’s application came for the scrutiny. And it was evident that he do not possess any of the qualification that the post demands”.
Padmini Thomas added that it was during the period of Anju Bobby George, Ajith made into the council. The appointment were done in the last two months only after Anju Bobby George took the charge of the Kerala State Sports Council”. She also opined that Council needs a full time President not a one who comes and goes.
Anju Bobby was taken the charge as the President of Kerala State Sports Council in November, 2015. An employee in the Central Customs department, there were news reports claims that Anju Bobby George, the National Athletics camp co-ordinator and running a private sports academy in Bangalore is not available completely in KSSC.
Advocate and media critic Jayashankar, said that “Legally there is no issue for Anju Bobby George to hold the position of the Sports Council president. This is just a position not at all a job. Government can even appoint a politician to the post. There are rumours around says that, the former Member of Legislative Assembly from Nemom constituency, V Shivankutty might be the choice for this government.
It was wrong that, an irresponsible person like Anju Bobby George was given the president post in the sports council. The Kerala State Sports Council is a place full of corruption. Even before Anju Bobby George takes charge, the council was a place of corruption and now also the same”. He added on to say that “there are people in the council who supports corruption and Anju is the one who backs them”.
Meanwhile sources from the KSSC said the Kochi Post that, the allegations against Ajith Markose, Anju Bobby George’s brother, was given a job in the council with the latter’s influence is baseless as he possess the qualification mentioned in the circular.
The new circular mentioning the qualifications like post-graduation, NIS certificate are yet to be implemented because it needs approval from the government. Still the circular uses is of 1982 which says that the candidate should be a graduate, a sportsperson and should have coaching experience.
The amendments regarding the qualifications have been sent in 2013 but is yet to get an approval. The green signal for Ajith was given in February 2015. Unfortunately the order was given once Anju Bobby George took over as the President of KSSC. Even the salary for the particular post has not decided yet.
Anju Bobby George has written an open letter to the sports minister, EP Jayarajan, asking the minister to start a vigilance enquiry regarding the appointments made by the council, not from the past six months only, but from the last ten or more years.
She said that the alleged reports of his brother’s appointment can also be put under the probe. She added in her letter to the minister that, projects like Munnar high altitude building, multipurpose synthetic turfs, the construction of Maharaja’s synthetic track, Pirappancode swimming pool construction are some among which she thinks are corrupt.
And the lottery issued for the development of sports has deducted 24 crores. Out of that 22 crores has said to be as the money spent. The balance 2 crores is yet to be available for the council.
Anju also mentioned that she will refund Rs. 40,000 that she has used for the travelling purpose in the last six months. She ended her letter stating, “When I stand up on the victory stand, I have always thought that, for the 100 crores, God has thrown the chance to me. The person who had tears in the eyes while looking into that tricolour cannot cheat the sport. And I cannot do anything wrong by forgetting the sport and God” Anju added.
The main image for this article is from the KSSC website. We hope the new government will place improving the council’s website as one of it’s priorities. Right now it looks like the site’s purpose is to list its members and their contact details.