The Indian Olympic Association on Monday appointed Basketball Federation of India president K Govindraj as its observer for the Rowing Federation of India’s elections, to be held in Hyderabad on February 22.

This was confirmed by IOA president Narinder Batra in a letter to the BFI chief.

“To our telephonic discussion and your confirmation we are pleased to appoint you as IOA observer for elections of the Rowing Federation of India on 22nd February, 2020 and will request you to submit your report to IOA after the elections,” Batra said in the letter.

Batra also marked a copy of his letter to RFI president Rajlakshmi Singh Deo, and asked Govindraj to directly get in touch with her and the IOA office for logistical arrangements.

Batra’s move to appoint the observer came after he took a dig at IOA secretary general Rajeev Mehta for “unilaterally deciding to cease RFI election process”.

“You [Mehta] had confirmed to me on phone that you will meet me to discuss on the RFI issue, Ehtics Committee term issue and Kerala issue since I had raised my objections.

“But since you have not come to meet me and 11th February, 2020 is the last date for nomination, your unilateral decision to cease the RFI election process with immediate effect is not acceptable to me and I am overruling the decision,” Batra said in his letter to Mehta.

“Rowing Federation of India is free to conduct their elections as per their declared schedule. IOA should not be seen to be interfering in the autonomy of the NSF (National Sports Federation),” he added.

The RFI elections last December got embroiled in controversy for allowing proxy votes, forcing the Sports Ministry to derecognise the federation for violating the Sports Code of 2011.

In the RFI elections held on December 6 in Hyderabad, Rajlaxmi and M V Sriram were elected as president and secretary general, respectively.

But the ministry, in a letter to the RFI president, said that the said elections were not in accordance with the Sports Code and hence the recognition of the national rowing body stands cancelled.

The ministry also wrote to the IOA to constitute an ad hoc committee to discharge the functions of the RFI.