Indian Olympic Committee calls for peaceful resolution of election row

New Delhi, Aug. 17 (ANI): The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) has appealed that the elections to the posts of office bearers should be held in a democratic manner, consequent to a row between India and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) which led to the suspension of India from all Olympic activities, putting the country's participation in Olympics at risk.

The Vice- President of Indian Olympic Association Tarlochan Singh stated on Saturday, while commenting on the Olympic Body Election, that the elections are being held in a democratic manner and requested all the members of the association to be united and discuss all the important issues in the meeting to be held on August 25.

"The need of the day is that all the Olympic committee members should show unity because we have already been suspended and we should move ahead with unity so that International Olympic Committee (IOC) thinks that India is being deprived of its flag going abroad and this should be removed," he said.

Last year in December, the IOC had banned India after refusing to recognize the results of Indian Olympic Association (IOA) elections due to government interference, which led to a tainted official being named its secretary general.

IOC had said that India must bar all corruption-tainted officials from its local Olympics body if it wants to return to the Games.

The ban meant an end to funding from the IOC for the IOA, no Indian officials attending Olympic meetings and Indian athletes banned from competing at the Olympics under their country's flag.

Earlier, in the revised draft constitution of the IOA sent by its parent body, International Olympic Committee mentioned that corruption-tainted persons will no longer be eligible to contest Indian Olympic Association elections.

In a 43-page draft revised Constitution, the world body laid down the provisions concerning the election process of the IOA, setting up of three key commissions, voting rights of the National Sports Federations and state Olympic bodies and the contentious age and tenure rules, among others.

Concerning the election of Executive Council members, the revised draft Constitution said; "To be eligible as an office-bearer or member of the Executive Council, a member must be a citizen of India; be in full possession of his/her civil rights; not face charges framed against him/her by any court in India, in respect of a criminal or corruption offense which would be punishable with imprisonment if he/she was convicted; not have been convicted of any criminal or corruption offense."

This provision will effectively mean that officials like Suresh Kalmadi, Lalit Bhanot and V K Verma who had been charge-sheeted in connection with 2010 Commonwealth Games scam will not be able to contest in IOA elections.

Rahul Mehra, a lawyer from Delhi said: "It is important for the Sports Ministry to actually first look within and look inwards and take care of people who are biggest violators rather than being people who should be implementing the sports code like P.K. Deb as sports secretary. They should be shunted out,"

The revised draft also reduced the number of Executive Council members to 19 or 20, similar to that of the IOC, with a view to bring good governance in the IOA. (ANI)

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