Suresh Kalmadi has declined to take over the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) life presidency role, his lawyer has reportedly told TV channels. The lawyer has reportedly said, “Time not appropriate to take up the post.” Kalmadi has been facing corruption charges for misappropriation of funds during the hosting of 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi.
“Suresh Kalmadi has informed IOA president N Ramachandran that he won’t accept the life president’s post. It was a sudden decision. A member proposed the names during our Annual General Meeting (AGM) and (IOA) president approved it. It wasn’t on the agenda,” said IOA secretary general Rajeev Mehta to Indian Express.
WATCH VIDEO | After Criticism, Suresh Kalmadi Declines Indian Olympic Association Life Presidency
To add further pressure on the IOA to fully reverse the decision, new International Hockey Federation (FIH) and former Hockey India Chief Narinder Batra said, “If Abhay Chautala does not step down, I will resign from the IOA,” he told NDTV.
Sports Ministry has meanwhile issued a showcause notice to the IOA and has said that all ties will be cut with the national Olympic body until Kalmadi and Abhay Singh Chautala aren’t removed. The duo were unanimously selected as IOA life presidents by 150 members in attendance.
Sports Minister Vijay Goel and former sports head Ajay Maken have strongly opposed the decision to appoint them in the honorary role.
“As a former Sports Minister and sports enthusiast, the IOA’s decision to appoint Kalmadi and Chautala as Life Presidents of IOA is sad and very painful. This decision is not good for sports and India’s image,” Maken had told reporters on Wednesday.
“I request the Sports Minister not only to convey his reservations but take strong actions to reverse the decision. All the National Sports Federations are funded by the Sports Ministry, so the government should exercise its full powers to reverse the decision. If they do so there is no reason the matter can’t be resolved,” he added.
Chautala who had been the president of IOA during the time the body was suspended by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for 14 months. He was the president from December 2012 to February 2014 and his election as chief was annulled by the IOC.
Meanwhile Kalmadi had been the president from 1996 to 2011 and was jailed for 10 months for his role in the 2010 Commonwealth Games corruption scandal but was later released on bail.
(Inputs from PTI)