Undeterred by the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) action, the suspended Indian Olympic Association (IOA) is readying itself for a battle of different kind. If one imagines the IOA officials would be busy trying to work out a solution to bury the differences with the world body, then that is not the case. The IOA officials are instead trying to get their hands on whopping Rs20 crore, deposited in two banks in the Capital.
DNA has learnt that IOA’s acting president Vijay Kumar Malhotra has written letters to the Andhra Bank and Indian Bank, authorising Abhay Singh Chautala, Lalit Bhanot and N Ramachandran with ‘operational rights’ as the newly-elected office-bearers.
This has irked the Randhir Singh camp, which was waiting for fresh IOC directives regarding the new caretakers for the suspended IOA. They were quick to reach the Jawaharlal Lal Nehru Stadium branches of the banks and furnish IOC’s letter of suspension. Though the bank officials refused to divulge details citing the confidentiality clause, DNA has learnt from reliable sources that there is well over Rs20 crores in fixed deposits.
“How can they (Chautala & Co) go and claim the money when IOC, which has been funding India, has termed the IOA elections null and void? This money is for the IOA’s day-to-day functioning and for the sportspersons of India, and it should be kept and utilised very carefully,” said a senior member of the IOA on condition of anonymity. In fact, the IOA had distributed nearly Rs 4 crore to the London-bound athletes just before their departure from the funding received from the IOC and Olympic Council of Asia.
When contacted, Randhir looked completely unruffled. “N Ramachandran has been treasurer of the IOA for the last so many years and he is a very responsible person. He understands the rules and regulations of the Olympic Charter and knows what suspension means for a country,” he said.
Interestingly, Ramachandran is also the president of the World Squash Federation and has been lobbying for its inclusion in the future Games. “Ramachandran has been trying hard to get squash into Olympics and the decision is likely to be taken in 2013,” Randhir added.
Meanwhile, the members of the ‘victorious’ Chautala group fixed their name plates immediately after the election result was announced on Wednesday night. Not just this, the scam-tainted former chief Suresh Kalmadi too joined them at a five-star hotel in New Delhi. Significantly, Malhotra skipped the celebrations, which according to sources, was because of Kalmadi’s presence.
Meanwhile, IOC chief Jacques Rogge categorically stated that no ad hoc body will be formed. Whether the old IOA office-bearers will continue to be in charge is something that is still to be announced.