Indian Olympic Association annuls Suresh Kalmadi and Abhay Chautala’s appointment as life presidents

The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) on Tuesday annulled Suresh Kalmadi and Abhay Singh Chautala’s appointment as life presidents. IOA President N Ramachandran said there was no such resolution passed in the Chennai AGM.

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. The Sports Ministry had issued a show-cause notice to the IOA, threatening derecognition of the sports body if it does not reverse its decision.

After a major uproar, though, Kalmadi had himself deferred the acceptance of the offer. In a letter to the IOA president, Kalmadi had written that the “time is not appropriate to take up the post”.

“I thank the IOA for conferring the honour of Life President on me. However, I do not feel that it would be appropriate for me to accept this honour at this time. I am confident that my name will be cleared and I will defer acceptance of the honour till such time,” wrote Kalmadi.

As per sources, the decision to appoint Chautala and Kalmadi as life presidents was unanimous. A resolution was moved by Joint Secretary Rakesh Gupta and a total of 150 people, who were a part of the meeting in Chennai, agreed to it. The move to elevate the scam-tainted duo to the honorary position in the IOA shocked the Indian sporting landscape and left the Sports Ministry fuming. While Kalmadi was the first one to voluntarily decide to step down from the post, Chautala, former IOA president, had insisted that he is ready to relinquish the post if the International Olympic Committee (IOC) tells him to do so.

Earlier, Union Sports Minister Vijay Goel had informed that the sports ministry has suspended the recognition granted to the IOA until it reverses its decision on appointments of Kalmadi and Chautala. “The day the IOA took this decision to appoint Kalmadi and Chautala as life presidents, the government clarified that they don’t agree with it as the decision was against basic ethics. That’s why the government has decided to suspend their recognition till it reverses the order,” Goel had said.

IOA’s assistant vice-president Narinder Batra had earlier also resigned from his post in protest over the appointments of Kalmadi and Chautala as life presidents. Kalmadi served as the IOA president from 1996 to 2011 and was jailed for 10 months for his involvement in the 2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games corruption scandal but later released on bail.

Meanwhile, Chautala was earlier this month certified as the chief of the Haryana Olympic Association (HOA) by the IOA. Chautala served as the president of the IOA from December 2012 to February 2014 when the IOA was suspended by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for fielding charge-sheeted candidates at the elections. His election as IOA chief was annulled by the IOC. Only after the IOA Constitution was amended to ensure that charge-framed candidates are not allowed to contest elections, the IOC revoked the suspension on IOA in February 2014.

(Inputs from ANI)