The president of the Badminton Association of India and Congress leader Akhilesh Das Gupta died on Wednesday in New Delhi after suffering a cardiac arrest. The 56-year-old former Union minister was taken to Lari hospital in the Capital on Wednesday morning after having a heart attack, PTI reported.
Fifty-six-year-old Gupta, the son of former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Banarasi Das Gupta, was a former national level badminton player. He was a three-time Rajya Sabha member and the minister of steel in the Manmohan Singh government between 2004 and 2009.
After former BAI chief VK Verma was arrested for corruption connected to the 2010 Commonwealth Games, Gupta took over as the president in 2012. In 2014, he was re-elected for a four-year term.
Besides holding positions in the Central government, Gupta had also been the mayor of Lucknow between 1993 and 1996. He served as the secretary of the Congress Parliamentary Party from 2003 to 2005.
Gupta, who had left the Congress for the Bahujan Samaj Party, was once considered to be a close aide of Mayawati. However, in 2014, Gupta quit the BSP after accusing the party chief of demanding money for party tickets. He joined the Congress once again ahead of the 2017 Uttar Pradesh elections.
Gupta and other officers of the Delhi Capital Badminton Association were investigated by the Central Bureau of Investigation on charges of nepotism in 2014. They were accused of selecting only the relatives of all office bearers, including that of Gupta’s, to send them to Tokyo for the Youth Sports Exchange Program.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday expressed condolences over the Gupta’s death. “Saddened by the demise of former MP and Union Minister, Shri Akhilesh Das. His active contribution to public life will be remembered,” he said.
BAI said they were “deeply shocked” with their president’s death. “His efforts and able leadership shaped the game of badminton and will be etched in our hearts forever,” BAI Media tweeted.