IAS couple controversy: Anurag Thakur says Delhi govt failed to act

Union Sports Minister Anurag Thakur on Saturday said the Delhi government failed to act against the IAS couple over their alleged misuse of a sports stadium in the national capital, but the Ministry of Home Affairs transferred them to give a strong message that such facilities are meant for sportspersons. The leader further added that the Delhi government did not take any action against the bureaucrats. But Union home minister (Amit Shah) and the department took action against them and they were transferred to give a strong message that stadiums are meant for sportspersons,” he said. “There should be rules and they should be followed. Let everyone play, but professional athletes should be given preference. There should be no political interference,” Thakur, who is also the Information and Broadcasting and Youth Affairs Minister, added.

The statement came after the Centre on Thursday shunted IAS couple Sanjeev Khirwar and Anu Dugga to Ladakh and Arunachal Pradesh, respectively, following media reports about the misuse of facilities at Thyagraj Stadium by them. Khirwar was then posted as Principal Secretary (Revenue) in Delhi.

According to reports, the IAS couple were caught on camera allegedly walking their dogs in a stadium.

Union Minister Anurag Thakur made the remarks while inaugurating the Khashaba Jadhav Sports Complex spread over 27 acres in the Savitribai Phule Pune University (SPPU) campus, he also said that traditional games of India, like mallakhamb, will be taken to the international level in future.

“There should be more competitions for sportspersons and they shouldn’t only practice. This will help the sportspersons in testing their mental toughness. Grounds and facilities are made, but there are also restrictions imposed on some people. Recently in Delhi, an IAS officer with his wife was using the stadium, while the sportspersons were kept outside. It is a very unfortunate incident,” he said.

“There should be rules and they should be followed. Let everyone play, but professional athletes should be given preference. There should be no political interference,” Thakur, who is also the Information and Broadcasting and Youth Affairs Minister, said.

He also stressed the need to have “healthy sports competitions” between universities and states, among others.

Talking about the traditional games, the minister said that at the Khelo India event in Bengaluru, people were interested in watching mallakhamb.

“In future, this kind of traditional game will be taken to the International level. We are trying to have traditional games at all the sports facilities,” he said.

Thakur said the Modi government has increased three times the sports budget in the last eight years.

(With PTI inputs)

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