Probe bribery charge against hockey official: Jaiswal

April 22nd, 2008 - 6:20 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Bahujan Samaj Party

New Delhi, April 22 (IANS) Minister of State for Home Affairs Shriprakash Jaiswal Tuesday favoured a probe into the corruption charges against Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) secretary-general K. Jothikumaran. “The matter should be probed,” Jaiswal told reporters within the parliament premises when asked to comment on the alleged bribe sought by Jothikumaran from a private news channel reporter.

Jothikumaran in a statement Tuesday in Chennai denied having struck a “corrupt” deal with the reporters of a TV channel that aired a sting operation showing him accepting bribe for inducting a player in the national squad.

“IHF is an important organisation. The truth should be unravelled through a proper inquiry,” Jaiswal said.

The footage showed Jothikumaran accepting a “bribe” of Rs.500,000 to include an unnamed player in the national team for next month’s Sultan Azlan Shah Cup hockey tournament in Malaysia.

“I was genuinely under the impression that a proposal for conducting a big tournament on the lines of Azlan Shah Cup was being debated with me by the reporters. At no point of time did I mention anything about selection.” Jothikumaran said in a statement.

The IHF issue came up in the Lok Sabha Tuesday. Cutting across political lines, members sought stern action including criminal proceedings against those guilty of indulging in corrupt practices in the IHF.

“The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) and the government should initiate an inquiry into the matter and punish the corrupt,” said V.K. Malhotra, deputy leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the house, while raising the matter during zero hour.

Mohan Singh of the Samajwadi Party wanted the government to bring a bill to check corruption in organisations like the IHF.

“Such people should be publicly hanged,” said Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) member Iliyas Azmi, adding that “hockey, our national game, is today in such a bad shape because of these people.”

“The sports minister should make a statement in the Lok Sabha,” demanded Mohammad Salim of the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M), while Devendra Prasad Yadav of the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) called for effective measures to check corrupt practices in sports body.

“The government must rein in corruption in such organisations,” said Yadav.

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