IBL row: BAI sets up independent panel to hear Jwala

New Delhi, Oct 7 (IANS) The Badminton Association of India (BAI) Monday said it has set up an independent three-member panel to hear Jwala Gutta's case against the life ban proposed against her by its disciplinary committee.

The panel will have to give a decision within a month, till when Jwala will not be considered for national or international selection, BAI said.

The disciplinary committee, headed by BAI vice-president S. Muralidharan, has recommended a life ban on Jwala or six years' suspension from all badminton activities in the country or a conciliatory rapprochement in case she submits an unconditional apology, leaving the final decision to BAI president Akhilesh Das Gupta.

"Instead of taking action on his own, BAI president in consultation with the executive council members, has decided to constitute an independent three-member committee for issuing a further show-cause notice to Jwala Gutta," BAI general secretary Vijai Sinha said in a statement.

The notice would seek "her reply within a week on the punishments proposed by the disciplinary committee in order to satisfy the principles of natural justice and take final decision on the proposed punishments within a month," Sinha said.

The three-member committee comprises Indian Olympic Association (IOA) joint secretary Anandeshwar Pandey, Luge Federation of India president Deepa Mehta and social worker and former member of Commonwealth Games Organising Committee Swati Shukla.

"The committee is constituted to afford an appropriate opportunity for hearing, including her personal hearing if so requested, in order to take final decision on the proposed punishment."

"Till the submission of the report in this regard by the aforesaid committee, Jwala Gutta shall not be considered by the BAI selection committee for participation in any international tournament inside or outside India," Sinha said.

The disciplinary committee had recommended a life ban for Jwala's conduct during an Indian Badminton League (IBL) tie in Bangalore Aug 25. The Krrish Delhi Smashers, led by icon player Jwala, threatened to forfeit a tie when the Banga Beats tried to replace an injured singles player Hu Yun with Jan O Jorgensen at the eleventh hour.

The Smashers protested despite the IBL governing council's go-ahead. Only after the Beats decided to leave out O Jorgensen and play Arvind Bhat instead, did Delhi agree to continue, delaying the tie by half an hour.

Following that, the 2011 World Championship women's doubles bronze medallist was issued a show-cause notice in early September and was asked to explain her conduct. BAI appointed a retired high court judge to investigate the incident.

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