Kalmadi faces heat to resign as IOA President

New Delhi: A day after being released from jail on bail, tainted Suresh Kalmadi Friday found himself under intense pressure to resign as IOA President, despite his decision to stay away from sports administration temporarily.

Though Kalmadi has decided to step aside as the IOA President, there is an increasing clamour that he should actually resign as the head of the national apex sports body.

Sports Minister Ajay Maken said that Kalmadi should have resigned from IOA presidency after he was charged with corruption in conducting the Commonwealth Games in 2010.

"By not insisting to continue as IOA president, Kalmadi has done the right thing, but at the same time he has not resigned yet. I think there should be a permanent mechanism in place. We should not leave it to the wisdom or will of accused himself (to continue in his post)," Maken told reporters here.

Kalmadi was yesterday granted bail by the Delhi High Court after spending nearly nine months at Tihar Jail here.

Kalmadi, on his part, has decided to step aside as the IOA President though he has not officially resigned from the post yet, a move which is being interpreted as an attempt to keep his option open for a comeback.

He has sent a letter to Senior Vice President V K Malhotra asking him to continue discharging his duty as the Acting President and that he would not represent the IOA for a "long time".

Clean Sports India (CSI), a movement for corruption-free sports in India, also demanded that Kalmadi should not be allowed to return as the IOA president following his release from jail on bail.

"If he is allowed to continue as IOA president, he will ensure that the entire sports system gets corrupted to the level of corruption of Commonwealth Games," CSI national convener B V P Rao said.

"We demand that Kalmadi be suspended from his position as the president of IOA on the grounds of chargesheet and his arrest on corruption charges in the conduct of CWG," Rao said.

Former sprinter and current acting president of CSI, Ashwini Nachappa said, "It will be a national shame if Kalmadi continues as the head of IOA."

She demanded that Malhotra "come out clearly with his stand on the issue if he was not involved in the corruption of Commonwealth Games."

Meanwhile, a top IOA official said Kalmadi was not in a position to be involved in day-to-day organisational matters because of the court case.

"He is not in a position to devote time for IOA at the moment. He also has to attend to his electorate in Pune since he has been away for close to nine months now. He realises that it will be a prolonged absence and has therefore asked Malhotra to continue as the Acting President", the official said.

The anti-Kalmadi group in the IOA has raised questions on why he was not stepping down from the post if he was not in a position to take charge again.

"He should resign officially and pave way for someone else to become the President. He should take into account public furore and sentiments," a member of the rival faction said.

Kalmadi had nominated the senior IOA vice president Malhotra as the Acting President before being arrested for alleged corruption in the conduct of the Commonwealth Games in 2010.

Malhotra has informed the International Olympic Committee that Kalmadi will not be involved in IOA activities for the moment. He said he was authorised to run IOA in Kalmadi`s absence.