Timeline of needless drama around BFI recognition by Sports Ministry

February 26: Basketball Federation of India meeting decides to hold annual meeting in Bangalore

February 28: BFI Secretary-General Ajay Sud sends a circular to BFI members indicating that the AGM would be held in Bangalore

March 2: BFI members get another circular from Ajay Sud (allegedly with his scanned signature) indicating that the BFI AGM would be held on March 28 in Pune

March 2: Ajay Sud resigns citing moral responsibility. “I was pressured by some people to change the venue of meetings to Pune for which I gave my consent without the approval of President under my scanned signatures on 2nd March 2015. As this action of mine was not according to my conscience and moral values… I resigned from the post of Secretary General,” he is quoted as saying a few days later.

March 4: BFI President RS Gill sets election process rolling by naming returning officer for Bangalore AGM on March 27

March 26: Delhi High Court refuses to pass an interim order stalling BFI election process set in motion by BFI President RS Gill.

March 27: BFI holds election in Bangalore. Abolishes CEO post. FIBA and Ministry of Sports send observers to the meeting.

March 28: Pune meeting of “BFI” elects BJP leader Poonam Mahajan as President and BFI’s erstwhile CEO Roopam Sharma as Secretary-General. FIBA, Ministry of Sports and Indian Olympic Association send observers to the meeting.

April 2: FIBA recognises K Govindraj and Chander Mukhi Sharma as BFI President and Secretary-General respectively and the changes reflect on FIBA website.

April 17: Indian Olympic Association recognises Poonam Mahajan as BFI President and Roopam Sharma as BFI Secretary-General. Curiously, it had not sent an observer to Bangalore meeting of BFI.

May 6: Delhi High Court says BFI office-bearers elected in Bangalore meeting can take necessary steps to take over the BFI office in Defence Colony and the BFI website.

May 23: FIBA secretary general Patrick Baumann writes to Indian Olympic Association and the Sports Ministry

  • FIBA reviewed BFI constitution, election guidelines issued by the Government and two Delhi High Court orders, as well as positions submitted by all sides befoe concluding that the Bengaluru meeting was held in accordance with the BFI constitution.
  • FIBA also questioned the legitimacy of the meeting in Pune held without the outgoing president, secretary-general and treasurer in attendance and said no concrete evidence was put forward which would question the validity altogether of the General Council held in Bengaluru.
  • FIBA noted that the files submitted to it contain extremely serious allegations which may be subject to criminal proceedings in India as well as to proceedings under FIBA Code of Ethics and warned that if the matter was not settled within the basketball fraternity in India and should the present decision not accepted by all sides, it reserved the right to shed light into these allegations and initiate further proceedings.
  • FIBA urged the President and Secretary-General elected in Bengaluru to meet with those elected in Pune to settle the matter in a constructive manner and within the spirit of sport keeping the development of basketball in India and the good of the athletes in mind.
  • FIBA urged IOA to abide by its decision in line with the Olympic Charter. It also requested the Sports Ministry to provide all support to BFI to ensure a smooth transition process.

June 12: Sports Ministry issues an order to BFI officials saying that Ministry does not recognise either group and bars them from conducting any event in India. Clearly, Ministry has overlooked its own Sports Code which says National Sports Federation must be recognised by its International Federation. It has also overlooked the Delhi High Court refusal to stall the election process. Little is heard about its Observers’ reports.

June 16: BFI officials meet Minister Sarbananda Sonowal and request him to revoke the June 12 order of the Ministry so that they can go ahead and organise the South Asian Basketball Association Championship, a qualifying event for FIBA Asian Championship.