"She (Poonia) called me and asked me to recommend her name for the Khel Ratna award the day before the panel met," Bhagwat said.
A miffed Bhagwat said it was not right on Poonia's part to claim that it was she who got the list changed at the last moment to include Double trap World Champion Ronjan Sodhi's name in place the discus thrower.
"It was very cheap on Poonia's part to publicly say that I was the one who had got the list changed," she added.
Sodhi's name was recommended for the Khel Ratna award last week, sparking a controversy with some members of the panel questioning the process of his selection.
It was learnt that Sodhi's name was not there when the majority of members decided to vote for the Khel Ratna awardee.
A selection panel member had said that Poonia and London Paralympics silver medallist H N Girisha were shortlisted for voting by 11 out of 12 selection panel members and Sodhi's name was not considered initially.
According to reports, the scenario, however, changed after Bhagwat came in late for the meeting and Girisha's name was removed. Eventually the voting was for the selection of either Sodhi or Poonia.
After the chorus for considering Poonia's name for the Khel Ratna grew, Sports Minister Jitendra Singh had meetings with his secretary P K Deb to discuss the matter.
But the Ministry clearly indicated that there will not be any change in the original list of awardees.


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