Kalmadi gets Olympic nod as Maken fumes

I will ensure he will not be part of Indian delegation: Sports Minister

A Delhi Court on Friday allowed Suresh Kalmadi to attend the London Olympic Games, evoking sharp reactions from the Sports Minister Ajay Maken who stated that he would try to ensure the disgraced administrator is not a part of the Indian delegation.

Kalmadi, an accused in Commonwealth Games-related graft case, is out on bail after spending almost a year in Tihar Jail.

“It is unfortunate... As the sports minister I would just try to ensure that he will not be part of the Indian delegation. This I can ensure that Mr Kalmadi won’t be part of Indian delegation,” Maken said.

Maken’s response came after Special CBI Judge Talwant Singh allowed Kalmadi’s plea to visit London from July 26 to August 13, while ordering him to furnish a bond of Rs 10 lakh and a surety of the same amount.

The Sports Ministry later requested the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) not to facilitate Kalmadi’s trip to London. Ministry Joint Secretary Onkar Kedia, in a letter to IOA secretary-general Randhir Singh, asked him to take up the matter with the International Olympic Committee as well as IAAF to prevent Kalmadi’s presence in London on “ethical grounds”.

“Taking into consideration the serious charges levelled against Shri Kalmadi in the matters relating to conduct of the Commonwealth Games 2010 and that the court is still seized of the matter, the Ministry requests that the Indian Olympic Association, on ethical grounds, should not facilitate or sponsor the visit of Shri Kalmadi to London in any manner including air travel, lodging and boarding in London and giving tickets for witnessing the opening and closing ceremonies and sports competitions of the London Olympics, 2012,” Kedia wrote.

Clean Sports India, a movement for corruption-free sports, also denounced Kalmadi but IOA acting president VK Malhotra sought to steer clear of the controversy, saying he was not part of their delegation.

“It is unfortunate that a person who has not yet been cleared on charges of corruption is going to London Olympics. Olympics is not just about winning medals, Olympics is also about ethics and morality,” Maken told reporters in Mumbai.

“And as far ethics and morality are concerned, he who, as sports administrator, has been accused by CBI and has been in jail, and who has just been out on bail on corruption charges is something which is very baffling and a surprise for me, and I am very saddened to see that he has decided to attend the Olympics,” he said.

Kalmadi had on Thursday sought a Delhi court’s permission to attend the Games. In his plea to Talwant Singh, Kalmadi said he is a member of International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) Council and sought permission to go to the United Kingdom.

“As far as invitation from the IOC is concerned, International Amateur Athletics Federation is concerned, we will look into where the invitation has come from and if need be, we will speak to them, we will tell them,” Maken said.

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