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Dow issue gets murkier

delhi Updated: Jan 27, 2012 23:48 IST

Reuters
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The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) on Friday renewed its demand that London 2012 terminates its sponsorship deal with Dow Chemicals, feeling vindicated by the resignation of a Games watchdog panel member over the tie-up.

Meredith Alexander quit the Commission for a Sustainable London 2012 on Wednesday, saying she did not want to be part of a body that "became an apologist" for Dow Chemicals, the U.S. firm linked to India's 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy.

Dow bought the Bhopal plant owner Union Carbide in 1999.

Alexander said a number of other panel members were also "deeply disturbed" by the company's sponsorship of a temporary decorative wrap around London's Olympic Stadium.

Her resignation prompted IOA chief Vijay Kumar Malhotra to send a second letter to International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Jacques Rogge exactly six months before the Games, saying there was no need to carry "this toxic legacy".

"...the resignation of Ms Meredith Alexander from the Games Ethics Committee - the Commission for Sustainable London 2012 - has vindicated IOA's stand of opposing Dow's sponsorship," Malhotra wrote in his letter. "I am sure that you are well aware of the growing opposition to this sponsorship the world over with NGOs , intellectuals like Noam Chomsky, Members of British Parliament and civil society openly coming out against it.

Later senior Labour party figures such as Keith Vaz and Tessa Jowell (shadow Olympics minister) have also called for an audit of the process by which Dow Chemical was awarded the sponsorship.

However, London 2012 chief executive, Paul Deighton, insisted that after Alexander's resignation, it would not reconsider the decision to award the contract to Dow. He added: "It is absolutely her right to resign... I think that it is great that we have got this independent function to oversee so all this is washed through transparently… but we are moving on."