The suspended Indian Olympic Association (IOA) on Sunday refused to incorporate the contentious International Olympic Committee (IOC)-proposed clause that would have barred chargesheeted individuals from holding any post and suggested an alternative that would affect only convicted officials.
The IOA, during its Special General Meeting in New Delhi, which was also attended by IOC members Francisco Elizalde (member of ethics commission) and Jerome Poivey (National Olympic Committee relations director), put up a unified stand. Out of 182 members, 161 took part in the meeting.
The meeting was chaired by senior member S Raghunathan after president VK Malhotra, who is recognised by the IOC, boycotted it.
While the IOA accepted most of the suggestions, including that of age and tenure made by the IOC in its proposed draft constitution, there was no consensus on the IOC's proposed clause that no chargesheeted person should be allowed to hold office and contest an election.
What the IOA proposed to the IOC was that a convicted official, who has been given a sentence of two years and above, will be automatically rejected. If the sentence is less than two years then it should be left to the discretion of IOA's ethics commission.
The 11-member ethics commission, comprising mostly independent members, will be finalised within a week.
"The major decision that we took today was that those who are convicted for two years and more will not be allowed to continue in IOA and and the Olympic movement. It is according to the Representation of the People Act. Matters related to corruption and criminal issues will be referred to the ethics commission, which will take a decision in 60 days and it will be referred to the executive council of the IOA. The IOC members watched and heard our views and they also said that they will communicate them to the IOC," said Raghunathan.
Elizalde said that while the IOC and the IOA are on the same page regarding convicted individuals, he was not sure about chargesheeted ones.
"There are difference between the IOA and the IOC's recommendation regarding the suspension of candidates from office who have charges against them. Obviously we are on the same page regarding the convicted candidates but unfortunately in this country, or like mine for example, the law moves slowly and can be used by certain elements in the negative fashion. The house has passed their own resolution citing cases to the ethics commission. The body didn't turn it down outrightly but offered an alternative, which is good for us," said the Filipino.
If the amendments are accepted by the IOC, it will be a huge relief for officials like former IOA president Suresh Kalmadi, Lalit Bhanot and VK Verma, who have been chargesheeted in the 2010 Commonwealth Games scam.