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|August 17, 2001||
Sports ministry rejects Milkha's charge
A day after 'Flying Sikh' Milkha Singh rejected the Arjuna award, the Sports Ministry on Friday denied his charge of interference by the Prime Minister's Office in the selection of Arjuna awardees, saying it is "totally baseless, false and imaginary".
"The process of selection is transparent and it is no way affected by any extraneous considerations. Allegations levelled to the effect that the PMO in any way has interfered in the selection of Arjuna awards are totally baseless, false and imaginary," the Sports Ministry said in a statement in Delhi.
All the awardees were chosen by the selection committee on the basis of their performance or their lifetime contribution to sports or sports promotion, it said.
While rejecting the Arjuna award for lifetime contribution on Thursday -- a fortnight after the prestigious awards were announced -- Milkha alleged interference by politicians and the PMO in the selection of the awardees.
The statement said the selection committee comprised the sports minister as chairman, the minister of state for sports as vice-chairman, officers of the Sports Ministry and Sports Authority of India, representatives of the Indian Olympic Association and the Arjuna awardees association.
The selection committee also calls upon special invitees to assist the committee in discharging its function, the statement added.
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