Questions authority of Sports Ministry to remove him

Suresh Kalmadi on Tuesday said the Sports Ministry's order removing him from the post of the Chairman, Organising Committee (OC), Commonwealth Games, was “illegal and without any jurisdiction.”

He, however, said he was handing over charge as directed by the Ministry under protest “without prejudice to my rights and contention.”

In a letter to Minister of State for Youth Affairs and Sports Ajay Maken, Mr. Kalmadi said Monday's order had come as a shock to him.

The Minister had ordered that Mr. Kalmadi and OC Secretary-General Lalit Bhanot be removed from their posts. He also announced that Mr. Kalmadi was being removed as Chairman of the Executive Board of the OC.

‘Arbitrary decision'

Mr. Kalmadi questioned the authority of the Ministry to remove him and termed the decision arbitrary.

He wrote: “I must also point out that the OC is an autonomous society registered under the Societies Registration Act. As the chairman of the society, I can only be removed in accordance with the constitutional documents of the society.

“Further, I was elected as Chairman of the OC by the IOA General assembly on November 1, 2004. The IOA is an independent autonomous body and, as per the Olympic Charter, must remain free from government interference. It is also relevant to point out that as per the Host City contract for the Commonwealth Games, it is the responsibility of the IOA to establish the OC.

“The Sports Ministry is, therefore, not legally empowered to remove me. In view thereof, the order dated 24th January 2011 ought not to have been issued as the same is without any jurisdiction. The order has been clearly issued as a knee-jerk reaction to the prejudice created by certain sections of the media.”

The Minister had said that he was going by the opinion of the Attorney-General to facilitate the enquiry being conducted by the CBI into the CWG scandal. The CBI had complained that its investigations were being hampered by top OC officials.

‘Order uncalled for'

Mr. Kalmadi pointed out in his letter that he and the rest of the OC had fully cooperated with the CBI and he had even directed the OC to extend all possible assistance to the CBI. “In the light of the above, the concerns expressed by the CBI are unfounded and the order is uncalled for.”

Mr. Kalmadi recalled his contribution to Indian sports and to the nation, as an Air Force pilot for 10 years, as a member of Parliament since 1982, and also as a Minister of State for Railways.

“Having spent several decades in public life, I would not be unjustified in expecting at least the courtesy of being heard and a decision being taken in accordance with the principles of natural justice,” he said.

Mr. Kalmadi said the IOA had worked hard to bring the CWG to India for the first time. The role of the OC was limited to the conduct of the Games with its budgetary allocation being less than five per cent of the total expenditure.

“I am proud that we not only conducted and hosted a successful event, but India also delivered a stellar performance and won a record number of medals in the Games.

“I am anguished that instead of being commended for my efforts at putting up such a spectacular show, the OC is being unfairly singled out and I have been served with a decision of this nature. I would like to say that if I had been asked by the Sports Ministry, I would have consulted my colleagues and resigned voluntarily.”

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