By Duncan Mackay
British Sports Internet Writer of the Year

Suresh_Kalmadi__standing_in_stadium_October_12_2010January 26 - Suresh Kalmadi  (pictured) has claimed that the decision to sack him as chairman of the Organising Committee of last year's Commonwealth Games is "illegal and arbitrary".

Kalmadi was removed from his position, along with secretary general Lalit Bhanot, earlier this week by India's new Sports Minister Ajay Maken to ensure a fair investigation into corruption allegations surrounding the event, held last October.

"I am shocked to receive an order...illegally and arbitrarily removing me from the position of chairman of the executive board and the Organising Committee (OC) of the Commonwealth Games," Kalmadi wrote in a letter to Maken.

"I have extended all possible cooperation to all the investigating agencies, including the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

"I have even written to the CBI stating I am available to assist them at any given point of time.

"In light of the above, the concerns expressed by the CBI are unfounded and the Order dated 24th January 2011 is uncalled for.

"Without prejudice to my rights and contention and in furtherance of my letter dated 25th January 2011 wherein it has been stated that the order dated 24th January 2011 is illegal and without any jurisdiction, I am handing the charge under protest."

Kalmadi claimed that the Indian Olympic Association (IOA), which he has headed since 1996, had appointed him as chairman of the Organising Committee in 2004 and the Sports Ministry did not have the authority to dismiss him.

"The IOA is an independent autonomous body and as per the Olympic Charter must remain free from Government interference," Kalmadi wrote.

"We worked hard to bring the Commonwealth Games to India for the first time ever.

"The OC, under my Chairmanship, has worked tirelessly for over five years to deliver successful Games that India can be proud of.

"I am anguished that instead of being commended for my efforts at putting up such a spectacular show, the OC is being unfairly singled out and that I have been served with a decision of this nature.

"I would like to say that if I were asked by the Sports Ministry, I would have consulted my colleagues and resigned voluntarily."

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January 2011: Kalmadi sacked as chairman of Delhi 2010 Commonwealth Games Organising Committee
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December 2010: Kalmadi homes raided over Commonwealth Games corruption allegations