India's Commonwealth clout could have played a part in officials' release

  • HT Correspondent & Agencies, Hindustan Times, New Delhi/ Glasgow
  • Updated: Aug 05, 2014 00:29 IST

Given the clout India has among the Commonwealth participating nations, role of Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) being instrumental in the release of the two Indian officials — IOA secretary general Rajeev Mehta and international wrestling referee Virender Malik — held on charges of driving under the influence and alleged sexual assault cannot be ruled out.

The Consulate General of India in Edinburgh was keeping a close watch on the proceedings and the Indian administrators were also hopeful of a strong support from the embassy in the cases which threatened to damage the reputation of the country.

CGF CEO Mike Hooper didn't respond to repeated calls.

But perhaps, it also helped international wrestling referee Virender Malik, he was facing charges of sexual assault, go scot-free. "There was no witness in his case. Hence, it diluted the case," said an official who was with wrestling contingent at Glasgow.

According to Andeshwar Pandey, one of the Indian sports administrator in Glasgow, said that Mehta was driving a friend's car and there was a minor accident while coming out of the parking lot. However reports claim that one of the passengers in the car which Mehta hit is in hospital in a serious condition.

For the past couple of months Mehta had been struggling with his health. In fact, he went to Kerala for ayurvedic treatment.

People close to Mehta said he was also advised to abstain from drinking alcohol. But the festive mood during the closing stages of the Commonwealth Games, must have forced Mehta to do otherwise. After his release Mehta however denied having taken alcohol.

Malik, on the other hand, was staying in an independent room in a complex which was allotted to the Games officials. On Saturday, Malik along with his colleague Ashok Kumar, had returned to the complex between 9 and 9.30pm. Both were supposed to take a morning flight to New Delhi and so retired early.

Malik's room was close to the reception which was managed by three young girls and two male members. But it was learnt that in a case of an emergency, the receptionists double up as room assistants. The next morning, only Ashok boarded the flight to India as Malik was arrested by the police in the middle of night on charges of sexual assault.

Meanwhile, Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) issued a statement suspending Malik. "At present we are contemplating to expel him for a period of 10 years. However, if the charges against him are proved, we may consider expelling him for life," a disappointed WFI joint secretary, Bholanath Singh said in Ranchi earlier in the day.

Since Malik has been let off, it is likely that his suspension would now be revoked.

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