NEW DELHI: Cracking the whip on the Indian Olympic Association (IOA), the sports ministry on Friday suspended the Olympic body till the time it reverses the decision to make the scam tainted duo of Suresh Kalmadi and Abhay Singh Chautala its life presidents.
The government took the firm decision after IOA failed to reply to its showcause notice with the deadline ending at 5 pm on Friday. The IOA, in turn, had sought 15 days time from the sports ministry as its president N Ramachandran is out of the country.
“The government can’t approve of wrong things. The showcause notice issued to the IOA was a serious one but they didn’t respond and instead sought 15 days time. So the government has decided to suspend IOA till the time they withdraw the appointments,” sports minister Vijay Goel said at his residence.
Following the suspension, the IOA will cease to enjoy the privileges and prerogatives bestowed on it by the government as the National Olympic Committee (NOC).
“The IOA now can’t take any financial assistance, facilities and privileges from the government till the time they are suspended,” said Goel.
The government was not satisfied with the response of IOA since they have not given any substantive reply especially with regard to the non-eligibility of Kalmadiand Chautala.
Goel said the government considers the reply of IOA only as a ploy to buy time.
“This is a serious violation of the norms of good governance by IOA which is the mother sports body and corrective action needs to be taken immediately as it is a matter of national prestige and public sentiments.
“Although the government has utmost respect for the Olympic Charter and is committed to protecting the autonomy of sports, it cannot remain a mute spectator to blatant violation of principles of ethic and good governance by IOA, thereby putting the image and prestige of the country at stake,” the Minister said.
“By appointing chargesheeted persons the IOA has flouted all rules and regulations mentioned in its own Constitution and that of International Olympic Committee.
“The government stands for good governance, principles of ethics and the implementation of National Sports Code,” Goel added.
Kalmadi and Chautala were elevated to the honorary position at the IOA’s Annual General Meeting in Chennai on December 27, shocking the Indian sporting fraternity and leaving the Sports Ministry fuming.
Following the uproar while Kalmadi has declined the offer, Chautala continued to be defiant.
The appointments of the tainted duo also didn’t go down well within IOA’s own house with former Hockey India chief and newly-appointed International Hockey Federation (FIH) president Narinder Batra today resigning as the Olympic body’s associate vice-president in protest.
Meanwhile, majority of the Indian Olympic Association’s top brass was unreachable after the sports ministry’s decision.IOA president N Ramachandran was not available for a comment as he is in New Zealand and secretary general Rajiv Mehta too could not be reached. The IOA vice-president Tarlochan Singh was caught unaware by ministry’s move.
“I have come only come to know about the suspension through media. The IOA will respond to Ministry only after discussing the issue among its office-bearers,” said Tarlochan.
The IOA failed to respond to government’s showcause notice with the deadline ending at 5 pm today. That did not go down well with the Ministry as its thinks “IOA has not given any substantive reply especially with regard to the non-eligibility of Kalmadi and Chautala”.
In its response to the showcause notice, IOA only sought time till January 15 as its president is out of the country.