Sports Minister Vijay Goel today lashed out at the Indian Olympic Association for making tainted Suresh Kalmadi and Abhay Singh Chautala as Life Presidents of the sports body, saying it was "totally unacceptable" as both of them were facing serious criminal and corruption charges.
Kalmadi and Chautala were today made Life Presidents by the IOA at its Annual General Meeting in Chennai.
"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," Goel told reporters at a hurriedly-called press conference at his residence.
"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," the minister said, hours after the IOA took the decision to make Kalmadi and Chautala as Life Presidents.
Kalmadi served as IOA president from 1996 to 2011 and was jailed for 10 months for his involvement in the 2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games corruption scandal but later released on bail.
Chautala served as the president of Indian Olympic Association from December 2012 to February 2014 when the IOA was suspended by the parent International Olympic Committee for fielding charge-sheeted candidates at the elections. His election as IOA chief was annulled by the IOC.
Only after the IOA Constitution was amended to ensure that charge-framed candidates are not allowed to contest elections, the IOC revoked the suspension on IOA in February 2014.
Chautala ji aur Kalmadi ji ko IOA life presidents bana kar hamne apne sports ki ulti ginti shuru kar di:Ajay Maken,former sports minister pic.twitter.com/3b1syEQLRv— ANI (@ANI_news) December 28, 2016
Goel said that the ministry has sought details from the IOA and will take appropriate action after getting a report from the IOA top brass.
"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," Goel said.
"Sports is for public good and sports governance is a public function. Therefore, it is governed by public law," he 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.
IOA Vice-President Tarlochan Singh said that the IOA does not need approval from anybody to name any person as its Life President and today's decision was taken "unanimously" by the General House.
"IOA General Body does not need any clearance from anybody to appoint any person a life president or patron. It was within the rights of the IOA. Moreover, all the past presidents have been made Life Presidents or Patrons," he said.