Kalmadi, Bhanot removed from OC
The Commonwealth Games Organising Committee chairman, Suresh Kalmadi, and secretary general, Lalit Bhanot, were removed from their posts by sports minister, Ajay Maken, on Monday.
Both are facing multi-million dollar corruption charges in the build-up to the Games that concluded on October 14 last year.
Though it was imminent after the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) started investigating the OC's role in the multi-dollar scam, it was the newly appointed Maken's initiative in consultation with the Attorney General (AG), Goolam E Vahanvati.
According to a sports ministry statement, the move will facilitate the investigators, particularly the CBI, during the probe. The CBI had been requesting the government to remove Kalmadi and Bhanot to facilitate a transparent and impartial probe.
The duo has also been removed from the executive board, thus reducing their hold on the OC. According to legal experts, Kalmadi could be removed from his post.
Recently, the AG had said that since Kalmadi was appointed by a Group of Ministers (a month before the OC came into existence in February 2005), he could be removed by the government.
The OC headquarters wore a deserted look but work went on as per schedule even after the news broke. Bhanot had left the OC headquarters before noon and did not return.
Bhanot refused to speak on the issue. "I don't want to comment on the ministry's decision," he told HT over the phone.
Kalmadi, who is in Ranchi to oversee the preparations for the National Games, told reporters that he wasn't stepping down as Indian Olympic Association (IOA) chief. "The government has got nothing to do with the IOA's functioning. I will not resign as IOA president on moral grounds. I am open to probe into the CWG," he said.
"The Games are over and my staying or not at the helm would not have made much of an impact. I fail to see the reason behind this move."