New Delhi : Suresh Kalmadi, standing trial for alleged irregularities in the conduct of the Commonwealth Games, and union Sports Minister Ajay Maken attacked each other over the former’s trip to London for the Olympics while Indian Olympic Association (IOA) acting chief Vijay Kumar Malhotra also took on Maken for misrepresenting facts.
Insisting that he had every right to go to the Olympics, Kalmadi said Maken was carrying on a vilification campaign against him and the sports minister in turn refused to “respond to a person who has been charge-sheeted by the CBI and suspended by the Congress party on corruption charges.”
Malhotra on his part stated that Kalmadi was not a member of the IOA delegation to the Games and that the ministry should have checked before asking the national Olympic body to stop him from going to London.
Kalmadi, who was allowed by the Special CBI judge to go to London while on bail, said it was unbecoming of Maken to react in such a way against the court’s decision, and requested the prime minister to ask for his resignation.
“I was quite shocked and dismayed to read Ajay Maken’s reaction to the honourable court’s decision to grant me permission to visit London for the forthcoming Olympic Games,” Kalmadi said.
“In view of Maken going against the court decision, which is quite unbecoming of a sports minister, I request our prime minister to ask for Maken’s resignation for making such comments and statements,” said Kalmadi, who is out on bail after spending nine months in Delhi’s Tihar Jail.
Kalmadi also accused Maken of interfering in the functioning of sports federations and creating “groupism” which, he said, will affect the athletes’ performance at the Olympics.
“Maken threatening Indian Olympic Association (IOA) that he would try to ensure that I was not part of the Indian delegation, shows the lack of knowledge about the functioning of autonomous sports bodies,” the tainted sports administrator said.
“I am attending the IAAF meeting coinciding with the London Olympics as a council member of the International Association of Athletic Federation (IAAF) and president of Asian Athletic Association. I don’t need any support from the sports ministry,” said Kalmadi.
“Therefore, the sports minister’s charges that my participation in Olympics will kill the basic spirit of Olympics, shows Maken’s total disregard to the spirit of the Games,” he added.
Maken, who Friday had asked the International Olympic Committee (IOC), IAAF and the IOA to take steps to prevent Kalmadi from going to London, said he would not like to react to the statement of a person who is facing serious charges of corruption and that he stood by his statement.
Malhotra was also livid with Maken over his ministry’s letter to IOA secretary general Randhir Singh, and said Kalmadi himself had not asked the IOA to make him part of the official delegation.
“Suresh Kalmadi, MP, is not a member of the IOA delegation to London Olympics. Indian contingent for the Games has been finalised a month back and Kalmadi does not figure in it,” Malhotra said in a statement.
“Mr Kalmadi never asked IOA to make him a part of its delegation,” the statement added.
Malhotra lambasted Maken for writing the letter without verifying facts and releasing it to the media.
“The ministry should have verified the facts from the IOA before writing the letter. The sports ministry letter asking the IOA not to provide any assistance or help to Kalmadi holds no ground as he is not going to London as part of the Indian contingent,” Malhotra said.