Three days after approving his name for Dronacharya award, the Sports Ministry has ordered withdrawal of Heera Nand Kataria's recommendation for the honour as a controversy erupted over his candidature.
It has been reported that Kataria, nominated by the selection panel for his contribution in kabaddi, is a joint secretary of the Wushu Association of India and the kabaddi players and coaches have expressed surprise over his selection.
The kabaddi players have also reportedly claimed that they have no idea who Kataraia was.
Earlier in the day, Sports Minister Vijay Goel had said that he would go by Committee's recommendation but he can take action if contrary facts emerge.
It has been learnt that the minister swung into action and eventually found that Kataria was not a deserving candidate.
"The minister spoke to a few people and asked for details. He wanted to go by the Committee but when reports cast a doubt over Kataria's candidature, he asked officials to dig out facts. Eventually he found that he should not be given the award, thus he has ordered withdrawal of his name," a Sports Ministry official, privy to the developments, told PTI.
It is not first time that a person's name has been dropped after notification of the list for the National Sports Award. Triple jumper Renjith Maheshwari's name was also struck off at the last minute in 2013 from the Arjuna award list when it emerged that he had used a 'scheduled' substance (ephedrine) back in 2008.
This year's awards announcement has already created a lot of controversy as weight-lifter Sanjita Chanu and basketball player P Anitha have already approached judiciary after being overlooked for Arjuna this year.
The Delhi High Court will hear Anitha's petition on Monday, it has been learnt.
The ministry also chose to drop name of para coach Satyanarayna from the list of Dronacharya recommendations by its selection panel as he is facing a criminal defamation case in a lower Delhi court.
Talking about Chanu, Goel said, "One or other misses out, always."
"People will always complain when they miss the recognition. We will definitely consider her next year."
All 17 Arjuna awardees and two Khel Ratnas, chosen for year 2017, will be conferred the honour on August 29, observed as National Sports Day, at the Rashtrapati Bhawan.
Image: Sports Minister Vijay Goel