Hot on the heels of the arrest of Indian Olympic Association president Suresh Kalmadi, MP, by the CBI, the Union Sports and Youth Affairs Ministry has asked the Indian Olympic Association (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 on Monday evening, issued under the directions of Sports and Youth Affairs Minister, Ajay Maken, 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 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 “premeditated” 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 that 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 A-G to give us some advice on the matter,'' he said.