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Sports Minister Vijay Goel shocked as tainted bureaucrat Suresh Kalmadi appointed lifetime IOA President

Corruption-tainted Suresh Kalmadi and Abhay Chautala were made life presidents by the IOA.

DELHI, INDIA - OCTOBER 03:  Suresh Kalmadi the Chairman of the Delhi 2010 CWG Organising Committee addresses the crowd during the Opening Ceremony for the Delhi 2010 Commonwealth Games at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium on October 3, 2010 in Delhi, India.  (Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images)
Suresh Kalmadi was one of the accused in the 2010 Commonwealth Games scam

In an outrageous decsion, former Congress leader Suresh Kalmadi has been appointed as the life president of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA). The appointment of Kalmadi, who was one of the accused in the 2010 Commonwealth Games scam, has been criticised by none other than the sports minister of the country, Vijay Goel.

The IOA appointed another corruption-tainted official, Abhay Chautala, as its life president. According to a report in News18, sources in the IOA have claimed that the selections were made unanimously.

Reacting to the decisions, Sports Minister Vijay Goel expressed his astonishment at a hurriedly-called press conference. He said, "We are shocked at the resolution passed by the IOA to make Suresh Kalmadi and Abhay Singh Chautala as Life Presidents of IOA. This is totally unacceptable to us as both of them are facing serious corruption and criminal charges."

He also added, “In fact, IOA was suspended by the IOC when Chautala and Lalit Bhanot were elected office bearers of the IOA and the suspension was lifted only when the two were removed from the management.”

Kalmadi has previously served as the IOA president from 1996 to 2011, a 15-year tenure. However, he was put behind bars following his alleged involvement in the corruption scandal of the 2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games. He was later released from custody on bail after serving only 10 months of his sentence.

Chautala was appointed as the president of the IOA for a 14-month stint from December 2012 to February 2014. But under his presidency, the IOA was suspended by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) after it came to light that the IOA was fielding charge-sheeted candidates in the elections.

Thereafter, Chautala’s election as the IOA chief was annulled by the parent body. The IOC revoked the suspension later on, only after the IOA Constitution was amended to ensure that charge-sheeted candidates would no longer be fielded in the elections.

Goel said that the ministry has sought details from the IOA and will proceed to take proper measures after receiving a report from the IOA top brass. He said, "We have sought details (from the IOA) and on receipt of a complete report, we shall review the situation and take appropriate action. Our government is committed to good governance and transparency in sports.”

"Sports is for the public good and sports governance is a public function. Therefore, it is governed by public law," the sports minister added.

"Nothing is bigger than the government. The government will see how and when there will be interference so that these people against whom criminal and corruption cases are pending are not associated with sports. We will take steps which are necessary."

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