Kalmadi`s move to travel to Olympics evokes sharp reactions
Mumbai: A Delhi Court`s ruling to allow Suresh Kalmadi to attend the London Olympics on Friday evoked sharp reactions with Sports Minister Ajay Maken stating that he would try to ensure that the disgraced administrator is not a part of the Indian delegation.
Kalmadi, an accused in Games-related graft case, is out on bail after spending almost a year in Tihar Jail.
"It is unfortunate... As a 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.
Apart from the minister, Clean Sports India, a movement for corruption-free sports, also denounced Kalmadi while IOA acting president V K Malhotra sought to steer clear of the controversy, saying he was not part of the its delegation.
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.
"It is unfortunate. The 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.
"And as far ethics and morality are concerned, 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," Maken told reporters.
Kalmadi had yesterday 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 from July 26 to August 13.
"As far as invitation from the IOC is concerned, International Amateur Athletics Federation is concerned, we will look into it, from where the invitation has come and if need be, we will speak to them, we will tell them," Maken said.
"I think saner sense will eventually prevail. Because as I said, Olympics is not just about participation and winning medals. Ethics and morality should be supreme.
"No one tainted of corruption should be allowed to participate in Olympics. And that too, (being) tainted as a sports administrator and allowed to participate in Olympics is something which kills the basic spirit of Olympics. And I strongly condemn it," he added.
The minister had earlier told PTI that Kalmadi should voluntarily desist from going to the mega event.
"I don`t think he should not go unless he is cleared of all charges. He himself should volunteer not to go," Maken said on the sidelines of NDTV`s campaign event "Marks for Sports".
Meanwhile, Malhotra said that the association has got nothing to do with it.
"He is not going there as IOA president. IOA is not involved in it. The court has given him the permission and it will be the court which will do whatever is required in this regard," Malhotra said.
"He applied to the court and court gave him the permission to go to China earlier (for 2010 Asian Games)," he added.
The court made it clear that Kalmadi is allowed to visit London for the purpose of Olympics only.
The Lok Sabha MP from Pune and 10 others have been charge-sheeted by CBI under various provisions of IPC and Prevention of Corruption Act for "illegally" awarding contract to install Timing, Scoring and Results (TSR) system for the 2010 Commonwealth Games to Swiss Timing, causing a loss of over Rs 90 crore to the exchequer.
Clean Sports India (CSI), which has been in the forefront in the campaign against corruption, said, "Today is a sad day for Indian sport and CSI is extremely disappointed to know that such a tainted official and prime accused in India`s biggest sporting scandal will be present at the London Olympic.
"Kalmadi`s move indicates that he continues to be at the helm of affairs of Indian sport and its administration," B V P Rao, Convenor CSI, said in a release.
The release also stated that Kalmadi is just fooling the people of this country.
"Upon release from jail on bail, Kalmadi`s written assurance to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) that he will not be taking part in any of the IOA activities as he is busy with all his legal cases is only proof of Kalmadi`s continuous effort to fool the people of this nation and the International body."
Stating that his presence in the Olympics will defame India as well as the Olympic movement, CSI appealed to the people of this country to protest such a move.
"We also appeal to the Indian community in London to hold strong protests there if they see Kalmadi in any of the Olympic arenas," said the release.
Former hockey Olympian Pargat Singh and former athletics star Ashwini Nachappa are also a part of this movement.