Amid continuing controversy in the sports sector of the country, following appointment of Suresh Kalmadi and Abhay Singh Chautala as the Life President of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA), Abhay Chautala today claimed that it was a conspiracy to malign the image of sports. Stating the uproar against him as ‘baseless’, the former IABF President clarified that he won’t be stepping down from the position offered to him at any cost unless charges against him are exposed.
Following widespread outrage, after the IOA’s decision to appoint the scam-tainted duo as the LIfe Presidents, Suresh Kalmadi, had today chose to back off and stepped aside from the post.
“I thank the Indian Olympic Association for conferring the honour of Life President on me. However, I do not feel that it would be appropriate for me to accept this honour at this time. I am confident that my name will be cleared and I will defer acceptance of the honour till such time,” Kalmadi said in a letter addressed to IOA President N Ramachandran.
However, Chautala refused to budge and said that his case was different from that of Kalmadi.
“Kalmadi may have declined to accept the position (of Life President) because there was accusations regarding Commonwealth Games and so related to sports issues. My case is different,” he said.
“I was elected as IOA President (in December 2012) but due to unreasonable interference from International Olympic Committee, I left the post. So, if all the past presidents can be made Life President why could not I be?” he asked.
He went to the extent of ridiculing Goel for expressing pain on his appointment.
“I was surprised by the reaction of Sports Minister Vijay Goel. He was claiming that there are criminal and corruption cases against me. The case against me is not a criminal case, it is a political case. People are telling me to withdraw. Then please tell all the politicians, ministers in this country against whom there are political cases to withdraw also,” Chautala said.
In a significant development, Indian Olympic Association had, yesterday, appointed former IABF President Abhay Singh Chautala and ex-IOA chief Suresh Kalmadi as life presidents of IOA. Interestingly while Suresh Kalmadi was associated with the 2010 Commonwealth Games corruption scandal, Chautala served as president of the IOA from December 2012 to February 2014 when it was suspended by International Olympic Committee.
(With inputs from agencies)