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Law ministry may decide on tainted sports officials

With arrest of Indian Olympic Association president Suresh Kalmadi, the Sports Ministry will now seek Law Ministry's opinion whether the government can remove the tainted sports officials or not.

delhi Updated: Apr 26, 2011 11:26 IST
Chetan Chauhan

With arrest of Indian Olympic Association president Suresh Kalmadi, the sports ministry will now seek law ministry's opinion whether the government can remove the tainted sports officials or not.

The ministry on Monday told IOA to appoint an alternate president but was not sure whether the association will listen to it, as national sporting associations have autonomy in appointment of office-bearers.

"To maintain the fair image of sports in India, the government will like the IOA to consider appointing an alternate president in place of the present incumbent for managing the affairs of the IOA," the ministry said in a letter to IOA secretary general Randhir Singh.

The ministry said Kalmadi has been arrested on charges of forgery, cheating and theft and his continuation as head of the premier sports body will diminish India's international image. He was arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation on Monday, nine months after first allegations of corruption was leveled against the Commonwealth Games organizing committee, which he headed till recently.

Sports minister Ajay Maken added that the person who is in jail or who has been charge-sheeted, it would not be in the national interest that he should represent the country anymore. Maken had skipped the recent National Games at Ranchi was Kalmadi was present there.

Despite Maken's suggestion to the IOA, the ministry believes that the national sports body will not listen. There is no provision under which the ministry can direct the national sports federations to sack an office-bearer even on charges of corruption. However, the ministry has proposed such a provision in the draft sports regulation, which is expected to be introduced in the monsoon session of Parliament.

As an alternative, it has decided to seek legal opinion from the Law Ministry whether it can direct IOA to sack Kalmadi and others charge-sheeted officials.

Kalmadi's close aides -- former OC secretary general Lalit Bhanot and former director general V K Verma -- were arrested in February. They are yet to be removed from their respective national sports bodies.

"We would also be writing to the Attorney General seeking his legal advice. The government can also take action on its own if the IOA fails to take any action against him. If required, we will take action on our own," Maken said.