Not done with sports yet, insists Khel-madi

Jan. 24: The six-year-long reign of Suresh Kalmadi as the 2010 Commonwealth Games Organising Committee chairman finally came to an end on Monday, with sports minister Ajay Maken issuing orders for his removal. Along with Kalmadi, his deputy Lalit Bhanot will also have to vacate his OC post following allegations of financial irregularities in holding the CWG last year.

On the day though, Kalmadi in Ranchi to check on preparations for the upcoming National Games asserted that the ongoing investigations will not have any bearing on his role as Indian Olympic Association president. “It has nothing to do with the Indian Olympic Association. The IOA general body meeting will be held in Ranchi on February 12,” he told reporters.

Kalmadi refused to give a direct reply to the sudden development. “Earlier also I had said that I am ready for an enquiry and it is going on. I can’t say much,” he said.

Kalmadi, a former Indian Air Force pilot, became a member of the Parliament in 1982 and went on to take over as president of the Indian Olympic Association in 1996. He is set to hold on to his post of IOA president till 2012 at least.

As IOA president, Kalmadi appointed himself the chairman when the OC was finally constituted in February, 2005. His tenure since then has been riddled with controversies, which began with the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) report alleging major financial bungling in handing out various construction contracts.

The initial budget for the CWG was quoted as Rs 1,620 crores in 2006 but by the time the Games came around in 2010 the figure had mushroomed to Rs 11,500 with constant delays in completion of projects. The IOA president became a laughing stock ahead of the Games in October with members of Commonwealth Games Federation questioning the OC’s capability in handling an event of such magnitude.

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