In an unexpected step, the sports ministry suspended the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) on Friday for making the scam-tainted duo Suresh Kalmadi and Abhay Singh Chautala its life-presidents.
The Ministry suspended the association till the time it takes its decision back. The government took the decision as the deadline for IOA to reply the show cause notice came to an end after 5 pm on Friday.
Instead of replying, the IOA in return sought 15 days time from sports ministry as the president N Ramachandran is out of the country.
Sports minister Vijay Goel said, “The government can’t approve of wrong things. The show cause notice issued to the IOA was a serious one but they didn’t respond and instead sought 15 days time. So the government has decided to suspend IOA until the time they withdraw the appointments.”
A ministry statement said the Sports Ministry was not satisfied with the reply of IOA as “they have not given any substantive reply especially with regard to the non-eligibility of Suresh Kalmadi and Abhay Chautala.”
The statement also claimed that by appointing Kalmadi and Chautala as life presidents it committed violations of ethics.
The statement also said, “Although the government has utmost respect for the Olympic Charter and is committed to protecting the autonomy of sports, it cannot remain a mute spectator to blatant violation of principles of ethic and good governance by IOA, thereby putting the image and prestige of the country at stake.”
Following the suspension, the IOA now cannot take any financial assistance, privileges and facilities from the government until the end of the suspension.
Goel said, “By appointing chargesheeted persons the IOA has flouted all rules and regulations mentioned in its own Constitution and that of International Olympic Committee.
The government stands for good governance, principles of ethics and the implementation of National Sports Code.”
On December 27, Kalmadi and Chautala were appointed as life president at the IOA’s Annual General Meeting in Chennai.
After the ministry’s decision Kalmadi has rejected the offer and Chautala has agreed to continue this post.
Hockey Federation chief resigned in protest
Former Hockey India chief and newly-appointed International Hockey Federation (FIH) president Narinder Batra resigned as associate vice-president of the IOA to protest the duo’s elevation.
Batra in a letter to IOA president and secretary general Rajeev Mehta said, “I am disturbed about the development in IOA AGM in Chennai on December 27. I am told by the members present in the AGM that this particular discussion, i.e. nomination of life president, took place as last item in ‘any other item’ and was proposed and approved in a total of one minute without any discussion.”
After the sports ministry’s decision majority of the IOA’s top brass was unreachable for any comment. IOA president N Ramachandran is now in New Zealand and unavailable for any comment. Secretary General Rajiv Mehta is also out of reach.