former Hockey India CEO denies allegations in Delhi High Court affidavit

Elena Norman, who resigned recently as the CEO of Hockey India, had filed an affidavit in the Delhi High Court in February denying allegations made against her in an inquiry report. 

The inquiry report was submitted to the High Court last year by inquiry officer Injeti Srinivas. The report looked into financial irregularities at Hockey India. It observed that Norman “looked the other way” and was responsible for decisions related to finance, procurement proposals and selection of internal auditors. 

The inquiry officer recommended that Hockey India review Norman’s contract and make it for a fixed time period instead of keeping her as a consultant. He also said the same person should not hold the positions of CEO of Hockey India and the Hockey India League. The officer felt Norman’s compensation should also be revised. 

In her affidavit, Norman said the allegations in the report were general and vague. She denied playing any role in financial or procurement decisions. She said all such decisions were taken collectively by the Executive Board of Hockey India. 

Norman pointed out she was never a member of the Finance and Audit Committee or the Tender Purchase Committee of Hockey India. These committees gave advice to the Board on financial and procurement matters. 

The CEO also said looking at meeting minutes included in the inquiry report, it was clear she had no involvement in finance proposals, procurement proposals or selection of internal auditors. 

Norman stated it did not make sense to hold her responsible for decisions she had no role in. She had been associated with Hockey India for 13 years but now felt unwelcome. 

Her salary had been withheld by Hockey India since November 2023 despite her contract lasting till December 2026. Norman said she was forced to work in a hostile environment.

In her affidavit, Norman urged the Delhi High Court to not accept the observations made against her in the inquiry report. She said the inquiry officer had exceeded his mandate given by the Court. 

The affidavit was filed in a petition challenging the lifetime appointments of former Hockey India President Narinder Batra and Norman as ‘life member’ and CEO. It also questioned their unlimited tenure and voting rights.

In May 2022, the High Court had formed a Committee of Administrators to amend Hockey India’s constitution as per the Sports Code. It also upheld a Supreme Court order regarding the Sports Code.