As if being suspended by the International Olympics Committee (IOC) once—in 2012, for violating the Olympic charter and fielding members charged with crimes—wasn’t enough, the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) has gone ahead and elected Suresh Kalmadi and Abhay Chautala as honorary life-presidents. Both Kalmadi and Chautala have been charged with corruption, with the former—who served as IOA president from 1996 to 2011—also having spent 10 months in jail for involvement in the 2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games corruption scandal.
He was later released on bail. Chautala, too, comes with a chequered history as a sports administrator—while he was in office at the IOA and the Indian Amateur Boxing Federation, both bodies were barred by the IOC and the AIBA, respectively, for corruption. The saving grace here is that Kalmadi has himself refused to accept the post.
You might also want to see this:
Though the IOA is a private body—drawing authority from recognition by IOC and the Olympic Charter—it receives grants from the government for conducting the National Games and deploying funds for athletes to represent the country at world events. While the government cannot directly interfere with IOA’s functioning, it can certainly curb its funding and impose stricter norms for future flow.
The sports ministry has refused to deal with the IOA if it continues with such brazenness, but it needs to ensure that athletes don’t lose out in the process, given IOC, itself accused of corruption, takes a strict view of “government interference”.