According to the athletes, several lakhs allotted to them as travel and dearness allowance was being swindled by office bearers of the TNAA. The athletes produced records as proof of their claims.
“Signing empty sheets has been the practice followed by Tamil Nadu Athletics Association for a long period. We had no idea how much money was allotted to us by the government. The signatures are obtained to show that the funds were distributed to us, but we were not given money in all these years,” said an athlete who holds State records and is in a central government job.
Meanwhile, a recent RTI response revealed that a woman official serving as inspector in the GST and Central Excise Department had held top posts in the TNAA over the last 10 years without obtaining permission from the department to which she is attached. The RTI reply dated September 6, states that Latha, Honorary Secretary, TNAA, had not obtained all the required permissions from the Central Excise Department to hold the post of Honorary Secretary of the association.
“No request for sanction had been obtained from Latha, Inspector, and the information on previous sanction from the Central Excise Department in respect of her holding posts of Joint Secretary, Treasurer and Secretary in Tamil Nadu Athletics Association for the past 10 years is nil as per records available in this Commissionerate,” said the RTI reply. The RTI query seeking details on Latha was filed by S Ganesh Moorthi, Treasurer, Tirunelveli District Athletics Association. He said that in the last 10 years, there have been allegations of mismanagement in the posts held by Latha. He also made allegations of certain athletes being favoured by her.
However, Latha refuted the allegations and said she was targeted for being a woman. “People who are rejected by me do not want me in the post and so make up all sorts of complaints against me,” she said. On why she did not get permission from her department before holding posts in the Athletics Association, she said only recently she obtained the permission.