Bhanot to contest for IOA Secretary General`s post

New Delhi: Tainted sports administrator Lalit Bhanot has filed his nomination for the post of Secretary General of the Indian Olympic Association, ending days of speculation on whether he will contest in the upcoming IOA elections to be held on November 25.

Bhanot, who was jailed and later released on bail in connection with the Commonwealth Games corruption scam, filed his nomination papers a few days back.

Other candidates who are said to have filed nominations for the IOA Secretary General`s post before the deadline expired at 5 pm today were Volleyball Federation of India Secretary General K Murugan and Judo Federation of India General Secretary Mukesh Kumar.

Murugan, who has been nominated in the electoral college by Tamil Nadu Olympic Association, and Mukesh, who is in the voters` list from Judo Federation of India, are said to be supporters of incumbent IOA Secretary General Randhir Singh who is contesting against Abhay Singh Chautala for the president`s post.

The list of those valid candidates will be announced tomorrow after scrutiny while they can withdraw their candidature till November 20.

Whether Bhanot will contest the polls or not has been a matter of speculation after the Ethics Commission of the International Olympic Committee had directed the IOA to bar him, along with Suresh Kalmadi and V K Verma, from fighting in the elections.

But Bhanot said that he was entitled to contest in the election which is a democratic process.

"It`s a democracy and I have the right to contest the elections. My name is there in the voters` list and so I can contest the elections," Bhanot, who has been nominated in the electoral college by Delhi Olympic Association, said.

The 183-strong electoral college has three members from each National Sports Federation while each of the state association will have two representatives to cast votes.

Chautala is one of the three members from the Indian Amateur Boxing Federation which had recently made him the chairman.

These elections are being held in the aftermath of a war of words through letters between the IOA and IOC which had threatened the national body to take action if it did not clear its stand on the Kalmadi issue. Kalmadi though decided not to contest the polls.

The IOA had also to bow at the wishes of the IOC which had directed the national body to ensure that the electoral college has majority voting right by NSFs whose sports are included in the Olympics Programme. The IOA admitted five NSFs to comply with the IOC directive.

In the latest development, the IOC has rejected the decision to hold the elections under Sports Code of the government and made it clear that the polls will have to be held "exclusively" under the Olympic Charter and IOA constitution.

The IOA-appointed Returning Officer, Justice (Retd) V K Bali had notified that the polls will be held under the Sports Code of government but the world body said that this was "unacceptable" as it would violate the Olympic Charter and autonomy of National Olympic bodies.