Within hours of the arrest of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) president, Suresh Kalmadi, MP, by the CBI, the Sports and Youth Affairs Ministry on Monday evening asked the IOA to elect a new president to maintain the fair image of Indian sports.
In a letter despatched to IOA soon after the arrest of Mr. Kalmadi here, issued under the directions of the Sports and Youth Affairs Minister, Ajay Maken, the Director in Sports Ministry, Deepika Kachhal said: “In keeping with and maintaining the fair image of sports in India, the government would like the lOA to consider appointing an alternate president in place of the present incumbent for managing the affairs of the lOA. The government may be kept informed of the action taken.’’
Mr. Maken informed that if the IOA does not take action on the directions of the Sports and Youth Affairs Ministry, then the Ministry would seek the opinion of the Attorney-General on the issue in the national interest and to protect the image of the country from being dented by allegations of taint and corruption.
Mr. Kalmadi, who was summoned by CBI for interrogation on Monday, was later put under arrest for allegedly awarding a contract for the Games to a Swiss company at an inflated rate of Rs. 141 crore in a ‘pre-meditated’ manner’. His close aides - former Organising Committee, secretary-general, Lalit Bhanot and former director-general, V.K. Verma - were arrested in February and are currently lodged in jail.
“We had in the Sports Ministry, decided during the day, after witnessing the course of events, we are going to write to the IOA to elect a new president in case Mr. Kalmadi is arrested. We are committed to cleaning up the sports in the country and make things function in a professional, transparent and orderly manner,’’ Mr. Maken said.
“The person who is in jail or who has been charge sheeted, it would not be in the national interest that he should represent the country anymore. Therefore, this action has been taken to ask the IOA to replace Mr. Kalmadi as soon as possible,’’ he added. “We have written to IOA to remove him, elect a president and simultaneously we would also write to the AG to give us some advice on the matter,’’ he said.