New Delhi, Nov 22 (IANS) The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) Thursday lambasted the union sports ministry for what it called interfering in its internal affairs.
In a strongly−worded rejoinder to the letter written by Pradeep K. Deb, secretary, Department of Sports, to International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Jacques Rogge, IOA's acting president Vijay Kumar Malhotra took strong exception to the ministry corresponding directly with the IOC.
Malhotra, in his letter to Rogge, slammed the ministry for what he called "interfering in its affairs and election process".
"The sports secretary's letter was in poor taste and a clear case of assault on the autonomy of the country's sports federations," Malhotra told IANS.
The sports secretary wrote a letter to Rogge pointing to the mismanagement within the IOA and blaming it for the delay in its election which have been rescheduled to Dec 5.
"Deb's letter to the international body was a testimony of the half truths and distorted facts by a senior official of the Government of India," said Malhotra in his letter.
"To start with, the very fact that Mr. Deb has directly written to you and the IOC bypassing the Indian Olympic Association, shows the government's intentions, interests and interference in the affairs of the IOA," said Malhotra.
"The double speak of the government is clear as on one hand it says that it has no 'intentions whatsoever to interfere in the functioning of the IOA' and on the other it is insisting that National Sports Federations (NSF) should accept its so called Sports Code."
"The Sports Code of the GOI violates everything for which the IOA constitution and the IOC charter stand for. The bone of contention between the IOA and the Government is the Sports Code which we have rejected out rightly," he added.
The IOA statement added that its election process has commenced with candidates having filed their nominations.
Scrutiny of the papers is scheduled for Nov 24 with withdrawal of nominations slated for Nov 25−29.
As for the ministry's suggestion of a meeting between the IOA, IOC and sports ministry, Malhotra said: "I have no objection provided the sports ministry puts the sports code in abeyance."