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Forced to the wall,IOA agrees to keep out charge-framed officials

The amendment if accepted by the IOC could lead to India’s return to the Olympic fold.

Written by Vinayak Padmadeo | New Delhi |
December 9, 2013 1:51:10 am

Facing derecognition and left with no option,the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) amended its constitution to bar charge-framed persons from contesting its elections at its general body meeting.

The IOA had made numerous attempts to dilute and side step the ‘charge sheet’ issue,but the IOC director general Christophe De Kepper on November 15 had issued an ultimatum making it clear that the amendment should come before the international body’s executive board meeting on December 10 and 11.

Otherwise,India would face expulsion he had warned. The IOC President Thomas Bach had said Saturday that the body was set to withdraw recognition of the IOA if it failed to comply with “rules of good governance” before Tuesday.

Ineligible to contest

The IOA decision also makes it clear that neither Abhay Singh Chautala and Lalit Bhanot will be part of the new dispensation. S Reghunathan,who chaired the meeting attended by 134 members,said both Chautala and Bhanot,the president and secretary general of the suspended IOA and who are charge-framed by the court,would be ineligible to contest elections to be held on February 9 once the IOC approves the amendment.

“Where charges have been framed by any court in India,in respect of an offence which is of serious nature under Indian Penal Code/Prevention of Corruption Act in which punishment of imprisonment of more than 2 years is prescribed then the member/office bearer/member of executive council of IOA will resign immediately and if not they will be provisionally suspended and will not be eligible to contest in elections and the case will be referred to IOA Ethics Commission for further guidance,” the amended clause said.

“The House unanimously decided to amend the relevant clause in IOA constitution which would bar charge-framed persons from contesting elections. Both Chautala and Bhanot told the House that they will not contest the upcoming elections. In fact,it was Chautala who proposed the amendment while Bhanot seconded it,” he said.

The amendment if accepted by the IOC could lead to India’s return to the Olympic fold. Both Chautala and Bhanot conceded that the decision was forced rather voluntary. “I had volunteered to step aside in the last meeting itself. And we are doing it only for the sake of Indian athletes,” Bhanot said.

In the last two requisition meetings held on 25 August and 27 October this year,the IOA had proposed to refer cases of administrators against whom charges have been framed to its ethics commission as a counter to IOC’s insistence but on both occasions it was rejected by the world body.

Even Narinder Batra,who many had tipped to be in the running for either of the top two posts in the new dispensation,declared that he won’t be filing nominations. “I have chosen to the the liason between the election commision and the members. So all this talk that I have been eyeing this post or that post is wrong,” he said.

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