In 2011, the sports ministry added a clause to the Sports Bill which barred a charge-sheeted person from heading a sports body in the country.
The ministry also wrote to the International Olympic Council (IOC) to include this point while dealing with the affiliation of the Indian
Olympic Association (IOA).
Ironically, the Sports Authority of India (SAI), the government's biggest sports department, is headed by Jiji Thomson, who has been charge-sheeted in the Palmolein import scam that rocked Kerala in 1992.
Thomson, who was the managing director of the Kerala State Civil Supplies Corporation when the scam took place, is one of the seven prime accused in the matter. The case is under trial and the SAI director general is facing charges under the Prevention of Corruption Act 13 (1) D (PC Act), 420 & 120 B.
Interestingly, in 2011, the Supreme Court had annulled the appointment of PJ Thomas as Central Vigilance Commissioner as his name also figured in the Palmolein scam.
When contacted, secretary, sports, PK Deb, told HT, "The ministry's stand is clear on the inclusion of tainted persons in sports bodies. Moreover, even the IOC has taken this point from the draft sports bill and asked the IOA to follow it."
Asked how Thomson could head SAI, Deb replied, "Thomson's appointment was done by the personnel department of the Government of India, the sports ministry had no role in it.
"Earlier this year, Thomson had filed a petition in the Kerala High Court challenging the Thrissur vigilance court order rejecting his plea to discharge him from the Palmolein import case, but the High Court rejected his plea.
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