Padma Bhushan row: Saina's nomination reaches Sports Ministry late

Sarbananda Sonowal reveals delay in receiving application; promises to reconsider Saina's case

New Delhi: Sports Minister Sarbananda Sonowal yesterday said that his ministry received the letter of nomination of badminton star Saina Nehwal for the Padma Bhushan only on Saturday, but said it will "examine the possibility of recommending" her name.

India's ace shuttler Saina Nehwal. Pic/Getty Images
India's ace shuttler Saina Nehwal. Pic/Getty Images  

Badminton Association of India, however, maintained that it had sent Saina's nomination on time. Saina had expressed disappointment at the Sports Ministry deciding to reject her application for the prestigious Padma Bhushan this year but Sonowal yesterday sought to put the record straight, saying that his ministry received the letter of nomination only on Saturday.

"I have seen reports in sections of the media that Sports Ministry didn't recommend the name of Ms Saina Nehwal for the Padma Bhushan award. On ascertaining the facts, I have come to know that Sports Ministry had not received any nomination from the Badminton Association of India prior to January 3, 2015," Sonowal said in a statement.

"A packet containing a letter, dated August 9, 2014, nominating Ms Nehwal for the Padma Bhushan award was received by the staff at my residence on January 3," he said. Sonowal, however, said that despite the late receipt of her application, his ministry would examine the possibility of recommending her name to the Home Ministry for the award.

BAI, however, said it had sent the letter of nomination in August last year and it has got the acknowledgment of receipt from the sports ministry. "We had sent the recommendation on August 9th and we also received an acknowledgment from Sport Ministry.

I don't know what the confusion is. When Saina called the officials of the ministry, initially they said they haven't received the letter but later said it was there but they didn't consider," BAI President Akhilesh Das Gupta said.

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