Indian Sports Ministry angry after Kalmadi given permission to travel to London 2012
Friday, 13 July 2012
July 13 - India's Sports Ministry has warned the country's National Olympic Committee not to help Suresh Kalmadi travel to London 2012 after the disgraced former head of the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi was given permission to attend the event.
Kalmadi, currently at the centre of corruption allegations linked to Delhi 2010, was granted permission by a court in New Delhi to leave India and visit London as long as he lodged a bond in case he failed to return.
But India's Sports Minister Ajay Maken has contacted Randhir Singh, secretary general of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA), claiming that Kalmadi does not deserve to be allowed to visit the Olympics.
The Ministry claimed that since Kalmadi is embroiled in corruption cases, IOA should not support Kalmadi's trip.
Kalmadi had been the President of the IOA since 1996 but was effectively sacked in April 2011 and replaced by V K Malhotra, the head of the country's archery federation, after a court ordered him to be held in custody on corruption charges.
Kalmadi has been been charged by the Central Bureau of Investigations (CBI) under various provisions of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the Prevention of Corruption Act for allegedly "illegally" awarding contract to install timing, scoring and results system for the 2010 Commonwealth Games to Swiss Timing.
But he has since been released on bail and, in his his plea to Special CBI Judge Talwant Singh, Kalmadi had said that he is a member of International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) Council and Asian Athletics Association and sought permission to come to the Olympics.
Among the evidence that Kalmadi presented as part of his evidence was an invitation from the IAAF Council and details of an airline sent to him by Essar Gabriel, the secretary general of the IAAF.
But the Ministry immediately tried to block the trip.
"Taking into consideration the serious charges levelled against Kalmadi in the matters relating to conduct of the Commonwealth Games 2010 and that the court is still seized of the matter, the Ministry requests that the IOA, on ethical grounds, should not facilitate or sponsor the visit of Kalmadi to London in any manner including air travel, lodging and boarding in London and giving tickets for witnessing the Opening and Closing ceremonies and sports competitions of the London Olympics, 2012," the Ministry said in a letter written by Onkar Kedia, its joint Secretary.
"The IOA should also take up this issue with the IOC (International Olympic Committee) and the IAAF, particularly, in the light of the fact that visit of Kalmadi to London Olympics, before corruption charges against him are cleared by the court, would defy the 'fundamental principles of Olympism'as enshrined in the 'Olympic Charter'."
April 2011: Kalmadi sacked as President of Indian Olympic Association