A day after Suresh Kalmadi and Abhay Singh Chautala were named Life Presidents of the Indian Olympic Association, a top official of the IOA, on Wednesday, questioned the move, pointing out that it violated the Constitution of the top sports body.
The official, who did not wish to be named, said that Kalmadi’s elevation as Life President was against the spirit of the IOA Constitution which barred charge-framed people getting elected as office-bearers. Kalmadi has already declined the position till the time his name is cleared. “If a charge-framed person is not allowed to become an executive committee member, how is that charge-framed person made a Life President?” the official asked.
“Because of this issue only, the IOA was banned by the International Olympic Committee (from December 2012 to February 2014). Only after the IOA amended the Constitution to the effect that charge-framed persons will not be allowed to stand for elections, the IOC lifted the ban on IOA,” he said. “This Constitution of the IOA was approved by the IOC and it is sacrosanct. Instead of following the Constitution, we have violated it,” he added.
The official’s argument against Chautala’s elevation as Life President was even more elaborate. He said Chautala was never IOA President under its Constitution as his election was declared null and void by the IOC when it suspended the IOA in December 2012.
“Why is everybody forgetting that the IOC, a day after IOA was suspended, had declared that the election of Chautala and Lalit Bhanot as president and secretary general was null and void? The IOC had refused to recognise Chautala-led dispensation and had communicated with V K Malhotra only,” he said.
“So, under the IOA Constitution, only a person who has been a president can be made Life President. Chautala was never a president of the IOA and so how can he be made a Life President?” the official asked.
In the Annual General Meeting of the IOA in Chennai on Tuesday, joint secretary Rakesh Gupta moved a resolution to make Kalmadi and Chautala as Life Presidents and there was no opposition from anybody in the House.
The official also questioned the presence of Chautala at the AGM in Chennai on Tuesday. “I don’t know how and in what capacity Chautala attended the AGM on Tuesday. I think he must have attended the AGM as Haryana Olympic Association President. He was recently elected as HOA chief but that was invalid under the IOA Constitution though the IOA President has approved his election,” the official said.
He said the IOA Constitution bars charge-framed people from becoming office bearers in the state units also. “The provision of barring charge-framed people from becoming IOA Executive Council members also applies to state Olympic units. They (the state units) are also part of the IOA. So, Chautala cannot become HOA President,” the official said.
There has been speculation that Chautala was elevated as Life President to placate him so that he does not create any further problem in the IOA giving recognition to the newly-formed Boxing Federation of India. The erstwhile Indian Amateur Boxing Federation, of which Chautala was a former president, is still recognised by the IOA as the NSF for boxing event though it has been de-recognised by the world body AIBA and the Sports Ministry.
Sources said IOA is now inclined to consider BFI’s application for recognition positively. “IOA has asked the IABF whether it objects to granting recognition to BFI since it has been recognised by the AIBA as well as the Sports Ministry,” a source said.
Last year, IOA Associate Vice-President Narinder Batra had wanted to move a no-confidence motion against IOA chief Ramachandran and had even got support from a lot of NSFs and state Olympic associations but Chautala, who still wields some support in the IOA, had put his foot down as he reportedly wanted to play a part in the boxing issue.
- Suresh Kalmadi served as IOA president from 1996 to 2011 and was jailed for 10 months for his involvement in the 2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games corruption scandal but later released on bail
- Abhay Chautala served as the president of Indian Olympic Association from December 2012 to February 2014 when the IOA was suspended by the parent International Olympic Committee for fielding charge-sheeted candidates at the elections. His election as IOA chief was annulled by the IOC
- On Tuesday, both the above tainted officials were made the Life President of Indian Olympic Association in its Annual General Body Meeting in Chennai
- Current Sports Minister Vijay Goel, former Sports Minister Ajay Maken, FIH president Narinder Batra have all expressed their disappointed over the decision of the IOA and Goel has announced that till the reversal of decision, the Sports Ministry cuts all its ties with IOA
- Suresh Kalmadi has declined the post till his name is cleared but Chautala remains defiant
May be quitting IOA soon, says Narinder Batra
Critising the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) for appointing scam-tainted Suresh Kalmadi and Abhay Singh Chautala as honourary Life Presidents, IOA Associate Vice-President Narinder Batra on Wednesday said he might quit the Olympic body soon.
Expressing his reservations over the appointments, Batra, who was recently elected as the International Hockey Federation (FIH) President, asked Kalmadi and Chautala to step aside. Kalmadi has already declined to accept the honorary post.
“I might be quitting the IOA soon because I can’t be associated with something which does not make sense to me in terms of good governance,” Batra said.
“They (Kalmadi and Chautala) should not accept this position till the time their names are cleared,” Batra added, speaking on the sidelines of the ceremony to felicitate the victorious junior men’s hockey team that lifted the World Cup recently.
The Indian colts scripted history by winning the title after a 15-year gap when they beat Belgium 2-1 in the final. The team had an unbeaten run in the tournament where they got the best of the likes of Australia in the semi-finals, Spain in the quarter-finals and beat Canada, South Africa and England in the pool stage.
Congratulating the team for their efforts, Union Sports Minister Vijay Goel announced a cash incentive of Rs 3.7 lakh for every player in the team.
“Each one is a gem and I wish them all the very best for future,” Goel said.
Speaking on his interaction with the minister, junior hockey team captain Harjeet Singh said: “The minister said that when he learnt that we had entered the final, he wanted to come and watch the match in Lucknow but due to prior commitments he could not make it. However, he said he followed most of our matches and wished us the very best going forward and asked us to stay focused.”
Promising goalkeeper Vikas Dahiya said: “It is a great gesture by the Sports Minister to invite us and greet us individually for our performance. This will only motivate us to do better in the coming days. I thank the government for all its support for hockey.”