Rows continue over Indian Olympic Association elections

Saturday, 17 November 2012
By Duncan Mackay

Lalit Bhanot at 2010 Commonwealt GamesNovember 17 - Elections at the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) are mired in more controversy after the scandal-tainted Lalit Bhanot (pictured) officially declared himself as a candidate for the secretary general and the official in charge of scrutinising the poll quit.

Bhanot, a close ally of outgoing IOA President Suresh Kalmadi, will stand despite being bail after being jailed in connection with corruption allegations linked to the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi.

Bhanot, the former secretary general of Delhi 2010, has put himself forward despite the International Olympic Committee (IOC) having already warned the IOA that he should not be allowed to stand.

"It's a democracy and I have the right to contest the elections," said Bhanot, who has been nomiated by the Delhi Olympic Associaton.

"My name is there in the voters' list and so I can contest the elections."

He will face opposition in the ballot on November 25 from K Murugan, the gneral secretary of the Volleyball Federation of India, and Mukesh Kumar, the general secretary of the Judo Federation of India.

Randhir Singh sat next to Suresh KalmadiRandhir Singh (left) is one of two candidates to replace Suresh Kalmadi (right) as President of the IOA

The post has been left vacant following the resignation of Randhir Singh, who has held the role since 1987 and is now contesting the election for President.

But the controversial affair has taken another twist after S Y Quraishi, chairman of the IOA's Election Commission, suddenly announced his resignation.

It led to the scrutiny process for the IOA's election being postponed today.

The IOA had appointed a three member committee headed by Quraishi and two former High Court judges - Justice J D Kapoor and Justice V K Bali - to oversee the election process for which Abhay Chautala, the chairman of the Indian Boxing Federation, is standing against Singh.

Quraishi, the former chief election commissioner of India, claimed his resignation letter said that "he is quitting the Commission because he wants thet IOA elections be held under Sports Code of the Government of India."

But both the IOA are opposed to the Sports Ministry's age and tenure guideline while the International Olympic Committee (IOC) are demanding that the election is held under the rules laid down by the Olympic Charter.

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