New Delhi: Senior vice-president Kalikesh Narayan Singh Deo on Thursday took charge as National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) president after 'incumbent' Raninder Singh went on a "prolonged leave".
The Sports Ministry had issued a directive that heads of national sports federations (NSFs) cannot hold office for more than 12 years as per the National Sports Code, following which Raninder, who was re-elected NRAI president in September 2021, went on leave.
The ministry had pointed out last month that Raninder had completed 12 years as president -- from December 29, 2010 to Dec 29, 2022 -- and as per the code, he cannot continue as NRAI chief any further.
The NRAI said in a release that its Governing Body in an emergent virtual meeting on Thursday "unanimously" approved Singh Deo as its president.
"I humbly accept the responsibility bestowed upon me by the Governing Body and the trust shown upon me by the President. Our immediate priorities lie in putting our best foot forward for important upcoming events like the Asian Games and the World Championships," Singh Deo said in a release.
"The team at NRAI and myself will look to work very closely with the Government of India, the Sports Ministry, the Sports Authority of India and all other key stakeholders, to ensure our sport brings greater laurels for the country going forward." NRAI said the decision to hand over the responsibility to Singh Deo was "in accordance with Rule 19 of the Rules and Regulations in the NRAI constitution".
"The matter of Raninder’s election and tenure continues to remain sub-judice in the Delhi High Court," the release said. The virtual emergent meeting of the Governing Body that lasted around 40 minutes was attended by 29 of the 35 members, according to the release.
The ministry has asked the NRAI to hold elections for the post of president within the prescribed timeline, failing which "appropriate action" will be taken as per the sports code.
The NRAI, in a letter on March 30, had informed its governing body members about an "emergent meeting" on Thursday to discuss the issues arising out of the ministry's letter.