Minister of State for Sport Bal Gosal not attending Kabaddi World Cup in Punjab

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So-called World Cup not recognized by Amateur Kabaddi Federation of India

Some kabaddi players, organizers not attending for fear of being arrested in drug racket

 
STORY 1
 

BY RATTAN MALL

FEDERAL Minister of State for Sport BalGosal told Asian Journal on Wednesday that he was not attending any event of the 4th Kabaddi World Cup 2013 being held in Punjab from November 30 to December 14.

I contacted Gosal after coming across a report in the Times of India newspaper that said he would be attending the opening ceremony in Bathinda on Saturday (November 30).The report said that Punjab Kabaddi Association president and state education minister Sikandar Singh Maluka said that the sports minister of Canada had “confirmed” he would be attending.

Gosal said he didn’t know why such an announcement was made as he never had any plan to attend any event of the Kabaddi World Cup. “Definitely no,” he added.

The opening ceremony will feature a performance by Bollywood star Priyanka Chopra. The Chief Minister of Pakistan’s Punjab province,Shahbaz Sharif, will be the chief guest at the closing ceremony in Ludhiana on December 14.

Asked about the controversies surrounding kabaddi, including the use of steroids, Gosal said: “Sport is so important for health and even for uniting communities, but it has to be clean sport. And there are a lot of issues with kabaddi. We have it here and they [India] have it there and they need to really work with proper organizations to clean up the sport of kabaddi.”

Asked about Punjab Police allegations that many prominent kabaddi personalities in Canada had been involved in a drug smuggling racket, Gosal replied: “I read that in the papers. Unless anything is proven in court, they can say whatever they want.”

 

ON Thursday, the Times of India reported that the so-called Kabaddi World Cup could at best be termed an “invitational tournament” because the apex body for the sport in India, the Amateur Kabaddi Federation of India (AKFI), does not recognize it.

Also, the so-called India team was really only a Punjab team.

AKFI Secretary General Dinesh Patel told the Times of India: “It is mandatory that before organizing any such tournament, the state body has to take permission of both the national and international federations related with the sport. Permission for holding a multi-nation tournament has to be taken from the International Kabaddi Federation, which has to be routed through AKFI. However, we have not received any such request from Punjab Kabaddi Association (PKA). You can’t say it is an official tournament.”

Patel added: “It is not the World Cup, but should be seen only as an invitational tournament being organized by youth clubs.”

Patel said that the tournament was being organized only in circle style format of kabaddi. He noted: “They are publishing (advertising) it simply as kabaddi. People of India are not aware that matches in the tournament are being held in circle style only. Even for hosting a circle style tournament, AKFI’s permission is needed.”

 

ACCORDING to the website www.livekabaddi.com, 12 international men’s kabaddi teams and eight women’s kabaddi teams are competing for the title. Canada’s men’s team includes Kinda Biharipuria,Hardeep Kaler, Sherry Ghotra,Param Dhesi, Ranjodh Ranu,Sonu Shokar, Taranpreet Gill, Daljinder Ahujla, Kuljinder Samra, Balwinder Sahota and Gurpreet Multani.

But sources told Asian Journal that some prominent kabaddi figures from Canada, including some key organizers of the sport, are afraid to attend the World Cup this year for fear of being arrested in the drug racket involving a former Punjab Police officer,Jagdish Singh Bhola.

A high ranking Punjab police officer of Patiala, Senior Superintendent of Police Hardial Singh Mann, told the Hindustan Times newspaper of India earlier this month that as many as 40 Canada-based Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) are believed to be part of an international drug smuggling racket involving kabaddi players.

Indian newspapers named some of the kabaddi players from Vancouver and Toronto metro areas. Mann said one of the kabaddi players from Vancouver metro area who is a big promoter of the sport left Punjab a month before police raided the houses of Anoop Singh Kahlon in Mohali and Jalandhar earlier this year.

Mann told the media that the information was shared by the Punjab Police with the Police Liaison Officer in the Canadian High Commission in New Delhi at a high level meeting that was presided over by Hardeep Singh Dhillon, Additional Director General of Police, Intelligence, Punjab.

And just this week, the Tribune newspaper reported that Punjab Police hadidentified a journalist operating from Toronto, who played a key role in gathering information for at least 24 non-resident Indians (NRIs) allegedly involved in the massive drug operation.

The report said police have identified six NRIs “who were instrumental in supplying drugs from India to foreigners via Canada.”

The report said: “Police investigations have revealed that the Canada-based scribe ran his own newspaper for a few months, joined the drug trade in 2003-2004 and later got in touch with Bhola and drug lord Anup Singh Kahlon.”

“The arrest of these NRIs is important as they will have much to reveal,” police officer Mann told the newspaper. The state police are trying to contact Interpol for help in arresting these persons.

Police sources told the newspaper that “a week before Bhola’s arrest, seven main drug suppliers, all NRIs, had held a meeting in Toronto to find new ways to smuggle drugs into Canada.”