A day after his arrest on corruption charges, Suresh Kalmadi's 15-year tenure as the IOA president came to an abrupt end after he was sacked from the post and veteran sports administrator VK Malhotra was 'unanimously' named as the acting president.
The swift action to end Kalmadi's reign as the supremo was taken by the IOA officials in a meeting chaired by Malhotra himself, citing clause 13B of the constitution which empowers the vice-president to take interim charge in the absence of the president.
Malhotra said he will call a meeting of the IOA Executive Board at the earliest in consultation with the Secretary General Randhir Singh, who is out of town, and discuss the situation arising out of the arrest of Kalmadi.
"IOA constitution is very clear, there cannot be vacuum and work of the IOA will have to continue. So I have accepted to work as the acting president of the IOA," Malhotra told reporters after the meeting.
"I will call a meeting of the Executive Committee as soon as possible which is prescribed under the constitution. Secretary General (Randhir Singh) is returning to Delhi and after consulting him I will call a meeting of the Executive Board. We will discuss all the issues at length in the Board meeting," he said.
Kalmadi, former Commonwealth Games Organising Committee chairman, was on Monday arrested by CBI for allegedly awarding a contract for the mega event to a Swiss company at an inflated rate of Rs 141 crore in a "pre-meditated" manner.
But, the haste shown in removing Kalmadi came as a surprise to many of the IOA office bearers, particularly when its Secretary General Randhir Singh was out of station.
It was not clear whether the meeting, where 15 members are said to have attended, has legal validity. The IOA officials, however, maintained that senior members were consulted over telephone before taking the decision to appoint Malhotra as acting president.
Vice President Tarlochan Singh, who was also present at the meeting, said that many of the members could not be present at the conclave because of the short notice but they have consulted them on phone.
"Under Article 13B of IOA constitution, the senior vice president will chair all the meeting during the absence of the president. In case of the long absence of the president, the senior vice president will discharge all the responsibilities of the president. So we have decided to appoint Mr Malhotra as the acting president," Tarlochan said.