Is Indian Olympic Association (IOA) now safe after conceding to the demands of International Olympic Committee (IOC) to bar charge-framed officials?
By 12.30pm on Sunday, it looked as if everything was under control of the Indian officials and the IOC’s suspension could well be lifted in coming days. But, according to sources in the sports body, this was the impression that has been created by desperate IOA officials unwilling to relinquish their cosy seats. IOA officials meeting at the five star hotel on Sunday was yet another attempt by the sports body to hoodwink IOC and the public.
dna got hold of the IOA’s amended clause which clearly stated: “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.”
When a senior IOA official was confronted with the fact that ‘if this amendment was enough to convince the parent body’, his reply was that he is feeling ‘depressed after witnessing double standards being adapted inside the meeting by suspended IOA officials’.
“IOC’s diktat was clear. ‘Bar charge-framed persons from contesting elections’. But what has now been done inside the meeting is that the matter of a charged-framed official would be now referred to the ‘Ethics Commission’ and which will then take final decision about their eligibility,” was how senior official reacted to IOA’s amendment to the constitutional on Sunday.
Earlier in the day, the official line taken in the Special General Body Meeting was that IOA elections would be held on February 9, minus the tainted officials like Lalit Bhanot and Abhey Singh Chautala, who could only contest elections later after clearing their names from the IOA’s Ethics Commission.
S Reghunathan, who chaired the GBM attended by 134 members, said both Chautala and Bhanot, the president and secretary general of the suspended IOA and who were charge-framed by the court, would be ineligible to contest IOA elections to be held on February 9 once the IOC approves the amendment.
“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,” said Reghunathan.
Chautala agreed to GBM’s recommendations saying: “We have done this only for the sake of the country and our athletes. We still don’t agree to the IOC’s charge-sheet clause, because that is not the law of our country. You can check with all IOA members, we did this only after pressure from the IOC. This is only why we have agreed to amend our constitution.”
dna tried to get IOC’s reaction. “IOC would only comment after getting an official communiqué from the IOA,” was the reply over phone.