New Delhi, Dec 28: Congress leader Ajay Maken on Wednesday urged Minister of State for Youth Affairs and Sports Vijay Goel to ensure revocation of appointments of Suresh Kalmadi and Abhay Singh Chautala as Indian Olympic Association’s honorary life presidents, given their “tainted past”.
Maken urged the Sports Minister and the Centre to put pressure on the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) to revoke its decision.
Scam-tainted Kalmadi and Abhay Singh Chautala were made honorary life presidents of the IOA after a proposal on the issue was unanimously adopted at IOA Annual General Meeting in Chennai on Tuesday.
“Till they are not exonerated by court, they have no right to be IOA members,” Maken told the media here while slamming the appointments.
“I cannot believe that chargesheeted people are made (Life) Presidents of the IOA. Feel happy that the Sports Minister issued a strong statement on the matter; he must act now to reverse the decision,” the Congress leader said.
Maken, former Union Minister of State for Youth Affairs and Sports, said: “If one cares for sports in the country, one has to rise above political lines. People charge-sheeted in a court of law should not be made lifetime members of the IOA.”
“By making Chautala and Kalmadi IOA lifetime members, we are sounding the death knell of Indian sports,” he added.
“Since the decision is not an executive one, the Sport Ministry should not have any difficulty in revoking it. In addition, it should approach the Ethics Committee of International Olympic Committee.”
The Congress leader said the government should support public interest litigations that are likely to be filed following the IOA decision.
Chautala is a former chie of Indian Amateur Boxing Federation (IABF) and his term at the helm of the IOA was full of controversy. He also faced corruption charges.
Kalmadi, whose conduct during the 2010 Commonwealth Games came under scrutiny, has also headed the national olympic association for 15 years.
In order to unseat bureaucrats and politicians from executive bodies of various sports organisations, Maken urged the central government to pass the National Sports Development Bill, 2011, he had proposed as the Sports Minister during the earlier United Progressive Alliance rule.
“In other countries, experts represent sports organisations. However, in India, bureaucrats and politicians occupy positions, which has messed up sports. The government should adopt the bill I brought in, in its original form. It will clear the mess,” Maken added.
Reacting to the development, Sports Minister Vijay Goel on Tuesday said the government is “shocked”.
“We are shocked at the resolution passed by the IOA to make Kalmadi and Abhay Chautala its Life Presidents, which is totally unacceptable to us as both face serious corruption and criminal charges,” Goel had said.
“In fact, the IOA was suspended by IOC (International Olympic Council) when Abhay Chautala and Lalit Bhanot were elected as office-bearers of IOA and the suspension was lifted only when the two were removed from the management,” he added.