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Suresh Kalmadi emerges stronger

The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) on Wednesday took the popular ‘no one is guilty unless proved by a court of law’ stand, thus paving the way for the disgraced duo of president Suresh Kalmadi and secretary-general Lalit Bhanot to return to the active fold.

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The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) on Wednesday took the popular ‘no one is guilty unless proved by a court of law’ stand, thus paving the way for the disgraced duo of president Suresh Kalmadi and secretary-general Lalit Bhanot to return to the active fold.

In open deliberations during the special general body meeting (SGM) held here on Wednesday where Bhanot was an active participant, the Kalmadi group emerged as clear cut winner with all of its proposals unanimously accepted.

“The stigma imposed upon them after they were jailed didn’t bother us. They haven’t been proved guilty. How can we not utilise their vast experience in the promotion of sport? How can we forget their contribution to IOA all these years? Every single person who attended the meeting was in favour of them,” a top IOA official said.

DNA had, in its edition dated June 11, reported that Kalmadi invited his supporters to a cocktail party. Almost every member of the IOA, except acting president VK Malhotra and secretary-general Randhir Singh, was present at the get-together held on Wednesday.

Kalmadi has maintained a low profile, but his supporters have made it clear they are not in favour of keeping him out of the IOA for too long. “Even if he chooses not to contest the elections, he would be a kingmaker for sure,” said a senior IOA office bearer.
At the time of writing, former Haryana chief minister Abhay Chautala — a Kalmadi faithful — was hosting a party for his supporters at a Gurgaon hotel. Sources say Chautala could take over the reins of IOA if Kalmadi chooses to remain on the sidelines.

The SGM also restored the old IOA constitution, thereby giving the acting president more powers. As was reported, the states will now be allowed to cast two votes through two representatives while the national sports federations will be allowed to cast three votes by three representatives. Union territories like Delhi and Pondicherry have been given two votes each while Chandigarh will get one vote.

Acting president Malhotra said the IOA will urge the Centre to approve the association’s decision to host the South Asian Games (SAG) early next year. He further revealed that Jharkhand was keen to host the SAG in February 2013.

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