Sydney Olympics bronze medallist Karnam Malleswari on Sunday demanded the sacking of Indian Weightlifting Federation Secretary Sahdev Yadav for not paying heed to her repeated complaints against coach Ramesh Malhotra, who has been suspended on charges of sexually harassing junior lifters.
Malleswari, who is now the Vice-President in IWF, said Yadav has to be shown the door so that coaches like Malhotra are never appointed.
"Suspending the coach is not enough. The Federation secretary should also be sacked because he didn't act against Malhotra despite repeated complaints. If he is not sacked then people like Malhotra will be made coach again," Malleswari told reporters here.
"I made a complaint against Malhotra in the IWF Executive Committee meeting in Udaipur in February and I was assured that action would be taken. But leave alone taking action, he was recommended for the Dronacharya award," she added.
"Considering his past records he should not have been given charge of women lifters. But he was kept at the camp and even taken as women's coach in the recent junior Asian Championships. By recommending his name for Dronacharya Award, the IWF was devaluing the prestigious honour," said the country's only Olympic woman medallist.
Malhotra was suspended after Malleswari revealed that he had been harassing young lifters for the past 10 years now but she did not level any specific charges or reveal the identity of any particular victim.
Asked what took her so long to go public against Malhotra, Malleswari said, "Whatever I am saying now was never a secret. Sports Authority of India officials, senior coaches, the federation and the players knew about it all along."
"At the time all this happened, I was myself an active player and was focussing only on my game. But SAI has several written complaints against him and if they couldn't act on them them, what could I have done at that time? But now I am the vice President of the Federation and have raised my voice on the issue," she said.
The man in the eye of storm, Malhotra has, however, denied the allegations against him, claiming that it is a conspiracy against him.
"I have done nothing wrong. The allegations were planned to tarnish my image," he said.