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Sports ministry wants Kalmadi’s London visit aborted


New Delhi : The sports ministry has asked the Indian Olympic Associaiton to prevent its president Suresh Kalmadi from going to London for the Olympics. A court here Friday permitted Kalmadi, who is facing graft charges in the preparations for the 2010 Commonwealth Games, to travel to London. Soon after, Sports Minister Ajay Maken said he shoud not go to the Games.

The tone and tenor of the letter from a a joint secretary of the sports ministry was more or less what Maken said in Mumbai, that Kalmadi should not go to London when he is facing serious charges of corruption in connection with the 2010 Commonwealth Games.

Acting IOA president Vijay Kumar Malhotra or secretary general Randhir Singh were not available for comment, but a senior official, not wanting to be identified, wondered how anyone could stop Kalmadi from going to London when the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) itself had not opposed his visit.

The minister was quoted as saying that Kalmadi should voluntarily pull out. The ministry’s letter said that the IOA should prevail upon the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the International Amateur Athletics Federation (IAAF) should not facilitate his visit to the Games in the light of the serious corruption charges he is facing.

“Taking into consideration the serious charges levelled against Shri 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 Shri Kalmadi to London in any manner including air travel, lodging & boarding and giving tickets for witnessing the opening and closing ceremonies and sports competitions of the Olympics,” wrote Onkar Kedia, joint secretary in the ministry, in his letter to IOA secretary general Randhir Singh.

Kedia’s letter goes on to point out that Kalmadi’s visit defies the fundamental principles of Olympism when he is facing serious corruption charges.

“The IOA should also take up this issue with the IOC and the IAAF as Kalmadi’s visit to Olympics would defy the ‘Fundamental Principles of Olympism’ as enshrined in the ‘Olympic Charter.”