New Delhi: AITA on Wednesday dismissed Mahesh Bhupathi's allegation that the national federation is run by only one man and asserted that it was a "democratic" institution.

AITA's executive committee had last week imposed two-year bans on Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna for not abiding by the selection committee's decision ahead of the London Olympics.

But Bhupathi, in a scathing press conference on Tuesday in Mumbai, said that it was AITA president Anil Khanna, who takes all the decision and hides behind the committees.

AITA on Wednesday issued a press release on behalf of its executive committee members, who say that they were not stooges to Khanna.

According to the release the members felt that it is "an insult" to them who have been serving in the executive committee with commitment and "debate" each and every point on the agenda.

"This is far from being correct. AITA is most professionally managed organisation and has four Executive Directors who are well qualified to head the different departments of AITA.

"..Each of the Chairmen of the six Committees is a highly respected person with experience in Education, Government, Journalism and Administration.

"AITA is one of the most democratic institutions and has been headed between 2000-2012 by Mr Yashwant Sinha, MP, former Finance Minister and External Affairs Minister. The Life Presidents of AITA are Shri S M Krishna, External Affairs Minister and Shri Yashwant Sinha.

"The Vice Presidents of AITA includes very distinguished personalities who would not chose to be part of an organisation which is not transparent and democratic," an AITA release said.

The executive committee also stood by the decision to ban Bhupathi and Bopanna and said it was taken by a majority, and added that Khanna actually was in minority in this case.

"The Committee would also like to state that it has the highest respect for the tennis credentials of Mr Mahesh Bhupathi and Mr Rohan Bopanna but at the same time the Committee feels that the action taken under Rule 36 (a) (ii) is the correct action taken under the constitution to ensure discipline.

"The Ethics Committee and Executive Committee have also given an opportunity to the two players to make an appeal. Contrary to the impression that was sought to be created, consequent to Mahesh Bhupathi's press conference, that Mr Anil Khanna is responsible for this decision, this is to clarify that the decision in respect of the two players was taken by the Executive Committee of AITA which was attended by 12 representatives from different states of India on recommendation of a 4 member Ethics Committee of AITA.

"This note is therefore sent on request of executive committee members who feel that unwarranted insinuations are made on the president of AITA and thereby implying that others are his stooges.

"....A unanimous decision or a majority decision does not mean that it is taken by Mr. Khanna only. The fact in this case is that unfortunately he was in minority in this decision and he had to go with the majority opinion and had to agree with it," the released stated.

Later at a press conference Col Ranbir Chauhan, the AITA Executive Director (development), said it was "unjustified" on the part of Bhupathi to say that the federation was not doing enough for the development of the game.

"We organise about 30 ITF tournaments and nine junior tournaments. These are developmental tournaments that give players the opportunity to play and earn points by playing at home. It's not easy to organise these tournaments since there are not many sponsors," Chauhan said.

"A lot of work is being done for the game. National Institute of Sports (NIS) has 270 coaches but we have over 2000 coaches."

Chauhan also said that the AITA had many a times "gone out of the way" to help Bhupathi, but he did not elaborate on this.


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