By Tom Degun

kallumamaOctober 9 - The International Olympic Committee (IOC) Ethics Commission has called for Suresh Kalmadi and his close aides V K Verma and Lalit Bhanot to be suspended from all involvement with the Indian Olympic Association (IOA), meaning the trio would miss the National Olympic Committee (NOC) elections on November 25.

The issue comes after Kalmadi, Verma and Bhanot were all arrested last year for corruption charges linked to the Delhi 2010 Commonwealth Games.

Kalmadi was chairman of Delhi 2010, while Bhanot was secretary general and Verma was one of the senior directors.

All three are also senior members of the IOA, with Kalmadi having served a President since 1996 before he was temporarily replaced by Vijay Kumar Malhotra following his arrest and kept in prison for 10 months.

The trio were all looking to be a part of the IOA elections next month but the IOC Ethics Commission now appears to have put a stop to their involvement after IOC President Jacques Rogge asked them to investigate the issue.

Rogge's call came after the IOC received a letter from IOA vice-president Jagdish Tytler that queried the position of Kalmadi, Verma and Bhanot.

And following its investigation, the IOC Ethics Commission, chaired by Youssoupha Ndiaye of Senegal, has recommended that all three men should be immediately suspended from the IOA, with a permanent ban set to hinge on whether any of the three are found guilty in their on-going court battle against the Delhi 2010 corruption charges.

Suresh Kalmadi_and_Lalit_Bhanot_09-10-1Former Delhi 2010 chairman Suresh Kalmadi (R) and secretary general Lalit Bhanot (L) are set to face formal suspensions from the IOA

"Messrs Kalmadi, Verma and Bhanot were all tried by a criminal court pursuant to the law on corruption linked to a sports event (the 2010 Commonwealth Games)," said the Commission in a statement.

"The court even sentenced them to preventive detention for several months.

"For his part, Mr Kalmadi was released, but banned from leaving the national territory unless agreed by the court.

"Although, owing to the application of the principle of presumption of innocence, the Ethics Commission cannot take any final decision on the situation of Messrs Kalmadi, Verma and Bhanot, it must, however, recommend a provisional measure to protect the reputation of the Olympic Movement.

"In view of this analysis of the facts, the IOC Ethics Commission is of the opinion that it should recommend that Messrs Kalmadi, Verma and Bhanot be suspended from all their functions within the IOA until the final decision by the competent court in India.

"That, in consequence, any candidature from these three men for any position within the IOA [in the November elections] is not possible."

The Commission also came down hard on the IOA for keeping the IOC in the dark over the positions of Kalmadi, Verma and Bhanot following their arrests.

"At no time, and in spite of numerous reminders and requests from the IOC, did the NOC (IOA) clearly make any statement regarding the situation of these three officials nor take any provisional measure concerning them," it said.

Jagdish Tytler_09-10-12Jagdish Tytler claims he has no intention of running for President of the IOA

The IOC is now set to push through the Commission's recommendation and suspend all three members from the IOA and also the November elections.

Despite calling for the IOC to take action against the trio in his letter to the them, Tytler insists he has no intention of running for IOA President, insisting he simply wanted to "clean the IOA as people like Kalmadi have been clinging on because of money and power".

"I have a lot of support within the IOA and people have lauded me for raising this matter," he added.

The IOA Presidency race now looks to be between current IOA secretary general Randhir Singh and Abhay Singh Chautala, who was recently elected as the first chairman of the Indian Boxing Federation having served three terms as President.

Chautala, another close ally of Kalmadi, is said to be the favourite and have the backing of the Kalmadi supporters in the IOA.

Abhay-ChautalaAbhay Singh Chautala is now a leading contender for the IOA Presidency

However, Chautala has looked to distance himself with links to Kalmadi in the lead up the election, calling for a "fair, open and diplomatic" contest.

Singh is thought to be the preferred choice of the IOC as the 65-year-old has been an IOC member since 2001, but Chautala has no involvement in any corruption scandals despite his affiliation with Kalmadi.

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