Narinder Batra, Disgruntled Hockey India (HI) secretary launched a tirade against cricket legend Kapil Dev, on Wednesday, who headed the Arjuna Awards selection committee by calling him an opportunist and also said the World Cup-winning captain settled an old score with him by ignoring seven hockey players for the Arjuna Award.
Batra’s comments came a day after the Arjuna Awards selection committee reviewed the list of the 15 players, who were chosen for the honour and decided that there was no need for additional names
In a statement, Batra said that Kapil was trying to get even with him after his recommendations denied the former all-rounder’s company Dev Musco some contracts in installing floodlights in Bhubaneswar and Haryana. Batra added that when Hockey India League (HIL) was first started back in 2013, then in that time the broadcasters wanted better quality lights for high definition telecast and when He approached Dev Musco they quoted 10 times higher than others.
Exact words from Batra was,“When we started Hockey India League (HIL) in 2013, the broadcast and production wanted to ensure that the lux levels of lights in all stadiums are sufficient for high definition production and telecast. We approached Dev Musco, the rates they quoted were 10 times higher than others, and hence we got it done through others,”
Batra took offence to Kapil’s ‘Who is Batra?’ comment and as a reply said that Kapil Dev approached ‘Who is Batra’ during the time when Ferozshah Kotla Cricket Stadium was being rebuilt to ensure that Dev Musco gets the order for high mast lights. Then the comment ‘Who is Batra’ told him that lowest bidder amongst GE, Phillips, Bajaj and Dev Musco will get the order. He even got messages sent to ‘Who is Batra’ through a common friend from Manchester called one Mr. M. Bhatia who is also from Chandigarh, to help Dev Musco and give order to Dev Musco.
Batra branded Kapil as a rebel of Indian cricket and called him an opportunist. “You started a parallel cricket league and from an elite athlete became a rebel and criticised BCCI and made good money out of it. You have every right to make money and why not. The BCCI announced handsome prize money for 1983 World Cup winners and monthly/annual pension for ex-India players. You being a rebel might not have got the money from BCCI. I know where you went and cried to get back into the BCCI fold… For you we say ‘Moukatarian’,” he said.
Batra also filed petitions under the Right to Information Act seeking information from the sports ministry about the details of the selection procedure of the Arjuna Awards and qualifications and achievements of a member Anupam Gulati.