Ministry seeks more details from AITA on payment row

AITA Secretary General Anil Khanna and Chairman of the CWG preparations program Jaideep Mukherjea along with other officials today met Rahul Bhatnagar, Joint Secretary (International Sports Division) of the Sports Ministry and discussed the long-pending issue.

Bhatnagar said AITA has provided some data but they need more details about the expenses of all the five players -- Leander Paes, Mahesh Bhupathi, Somdev Devvarman, Rohan Bopanna and Sania Mirza.

"At least we had something to start with today. We have got some details but we need more details from AITA which they say they will give by this evening or tomorrow morning," Bhatnagar told PTI.

On being asked what those details were, Bhatnagar said, "They have given us the details about the number of tournaments participated by the players in the last two years but we need a certificate which says that their air-fare and hotel stay was not on sponsorship money or from Organisers fund."

"AITA says it has not received all the bills from the players but hopefully they'll find out a way."

The men's team had threatened to pull out of the Games if their dues were not cleared. However, they confirmed their participation after being assured that the matter would be resolved.

Meanwhile, AITA issued a statement claiming that all the issues have been resolved.

"All payment issues regarding elite players have been resolved and with minimum documentation and the ministry has agreed to process the papers at the earliest so that elite players can receive their dues under the CWG preparations within two-three weeks," a statement by Mukherjea said.

Bhatnagar said if AITA submits all details in time, money can be released in another 15 days.

The ministry official said final entitlement of each player can be known only after they have all the documents with them.

He said the government will pay economy class air-fare as per the Balmer Lawrie rates.

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