Sports ministry uncomfortable with Kalmadi back in IOA: Maken

January 24th, 2012 - 8:06 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Jan 24 (IANS) Sports minister Ajay Maken Tuesday said the government won’t be comfortable to see Suresh Kalmadi back as the president of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA).

Maken said IOA should be headed by an individual who has a clean image. The sports minister said Kalmadi can only come back after he is cleared of all the corruption charges levelled against him in cases related to the Commonwealth Games.

He said he will be uncomfortable to see Suresh Kalmadi, who was released on bail last week after nine months in jail in a corruption case related to the Commonwealth Games, back as the president of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA).

Maken said Kalmadi should only come back after he is cleared of all the charges. He also said that the government doesn’t want to intrude in the business of the IOA but is keeping a close watch on developments.

“We are keeping a close watch on the entire issue. The ministry’s stand has always been not to be so intrusive as far as the functioning of IOA is concerned. But simultaneously, as far as this issue is concerned, the ministry is also uncomfortable with the idea of Mr. Suresh Kalmadi returning as IOA president, unless he is cleared of all the charges,” said Maken.

He said IOA should be headed by someone who has a clean image.

“I think as far as IOA is concerned it should not be headed by someone tainted of corruption charges. First of all, he should get cleared of all corruption charges and then only he should think of holding such a post. Otherwise, sports in the spirit which it is taught to be played, we will be defeating that very spirit,” he added.

Maken said it was “unfortunate” that some members of the IOA still want Kalmadi back.

“It is unfortunate that the members of the IOA are still backing a person who is yet to be cleared of corruption charges. I would appeal to them in the larger interest of the sport that they should not support such person unless he is cleared of all the charges,” said Maken.

Kalmadi, former chairman of the Commonwealth Games organising committee, and Lalit Bhanot, IOA joint secretary and former secretary general of the organising committee, and V.K. Verma, ex-director general of the organising committee, were released on bail last week after nine months in jail in corruption cases related to the Commonwealth Games.

Kalmadi has asked IOA acting president V.K. Malhotra to continue in the post as he won’t be able to represent the organisation for a long time.

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