Indian Olympic Association is not going to abide by Sports Ministry’s direction to reply to the show-cause notice on the controversial elevation of Suresh Kalmadi and Abhay Singh Chautala as life presidents as it will first consult its parent international body, a top official said on Thursday.
The IOA has been given time till Friday to reply to the show-cause issued by the ministry after Kalmadi and Chautala were elevated to the honorary position at the IOA’s AGM in Chennai on December 27.
“The IOA president is out of the country, he is in New Zealand. We are not replying tomorrow (Friday) on the show-cause,” the official said. “Moreover, we cannot directly reply to a show-cause notice like this. Under Olympic Charter, the IOA enjoys autonomy and independence from government interference. We will first consult with the IOC on this notice before thinking of replying,” he said. “Normally, we would not have replied on such a notice because we are an autonomous body established under Olympic Charter. We may reply but that may happen after consultation with the IOC,” the official added.
The elevation of Kalmadi and Chautala kicked up a storm and stunned the Indian sports fraternity. Under intense pressure from various quarters, Kalmadi chose to step aside on Wednesday. But Chautala refused to follow suit though he said that he was ready to relinquish the post only if the International Olympic Committee has reservations about it. He asked IOA President N Ramachandran to discuss the matter with the IOC.
Sports Minister Vijay Goel said that it will severe ties with the IOA if the decision is not overturned. “Charges have been framed by court against Suresh Kalmadi and Abhay Singh Chautala. In the GBM of IOA held on 27-12-2016 at Chennai, a resolution was passed to appoint Kalmadi and Chautala as Life Presidents. Therefore, persons who cannot contest elections for any post in the IOA have been appointed as Life President of IOA, which in spirit is violating both IOC’s conditionalities and IOA’s own constitution,” the ministry said in the notice.
“In view of the above, the IOA is asked to show-cause as to why IOA should continue to be recognised as the NOC and government support/assistance of all nature should not be stopped when it has failed to conform to the basic principles of ethics and good governance, violated the directive of the IOC and violated its own rules and thus, has adversely impacted the standing and prestige of the country. Your reply should reach the office of the undersigned latest by 5.00pm of December 30 2016, failing which it would be construed that you have nothing to say in the matter and action will be taken accordingly,” the notice said.
Hockey India strongly opposes IOA’s decision
Hockey India, on Thursday, strongly opposed the Indian Olympic Association’s controversial decision to make scam-tainted Suresh Kalmadi and Abhay Singh Chautala its life presidents. In a letter addressed to IOA president N Ramachandran, Hockey India chief Mariamma Koshy said, “Hockey India is opposed to the resolution which was passed in haste as last item within half a minute, without any discussion by nominating Mr Suresh Kalmadi and Mr Abhay Singh Chautala as Life President of IOA and the meeting was then declared closed after that. He added, “Kindly put the 3 votes of Hockey India as opposed to the resolution in which Mr Suresh Kalmadi and Mr Abhay Singh Chautala were appointed the Life President of IOA.” Koshy took over HI chief’s post last month after former boss Narinder Batra was elected as FIH president.
Chautala offers to resign if IOC disapproves his elevation
Under intense pressure from various quarters, embattled Abhay Singh Chautala, on Thursday, offered to relinquish the life presidency of the Indian Olympic Association, but only if the International Olympic Committee has reservations about his elevation to the position.
Chautala, who has been charge-sheeted in a disproportionate assets case, and 2010 CWG corruption scandal tainted Suresh Kalmadi were made Life Presidents at the IOA’s Annual General Meeting in Chennai on December 27, stunning the Indian sporting fraternity and leaving the Sports Ministry fuming.
Kalmadi chose to step aside on Wednesday and Chautala said he was ready to do so but with a rider that IOA President N Ramachandran should take up the matter with the IOC and he will resign only after the international parent body disapproves of him taking up the honourary position.
“I wish to thank the IOA for nominating me to the ceremonial position of Lifetime President and I have already informed the President IOA, through a separate letter, that if IOC is not favourably inclined to my taking over as Honourary Life President after the (IOA) President has had an opportunity of discussing this matter personally with IOC, I will be pleased to sacrifice my position in the best interest of Indian sports, sportspersons, good governance, transparency and cleanliness in India sports,” Chautala said in a statement.
He took a swipe at Sports Minister Vijay Goel, who has issued a show-cause notice to the IOA, threatening to derecognise it for the controversial decision. “I am surprised at the reaction of the Minister of Sports Shri Vijay Goel and the media attention which was given to this ceremonial recognition for my humble contribution to sports. I have made sacrifice in 2013 by resigning from the post of President, although I was elected President in accordance with IOA Constitution, Indian Constitution and in a most transparent manner in an election conducted by three eminent Judges,” said Chautala.
“Even my presence to witness Rio Olympics has been questioned. I am personally aware of the conduct of Minister of Sports at Rio where IOC had questioned the behaviour of the Minister and his associates and threatened to withdraw his accreditation. I do not wish to dwell more on this subject as I do not want to embarrass the Minister. If necessary, I will brief the Hon’ble Prime Minister on this issue of Rio Olympics.”
Chautala said that the Annual General Meeting of the IOA in Chennai has authorised Ramachandran to discuss with the IOC certain issues relating to the provision of charge-sheeted or charge-framed persons from being barred from contesting IOA elections.
“I am given to understand that in the AGM of Guwahati in 2015, where I was not present, IOA had resolved that certain amendments, which have only been made in India and are not applicable to other countries, should be taken up by IOA with IOC. I have noted that the AGM (in Chennai) has now requested the President to take up this matter with IOC to have a complete understanding on whether people who have been charge-sheeted under Indian Law, for political reasons not connected with sports, can be kept away from active management of sports or not.”