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Apr 25, 2011 at 09:22pm IST

Can Suresh Kalmadi continue as IOA chairman?

New Delhi: For more than half a decade, Suresh Kalmadi has lorded over the Indian Olympic Association. Elected unopposed every time he contested the elections.

But now, after he has been arrested by the CBI in the Commonwealth Games Time Scoring Equipment scam, is the time for Kalmadi to leave the top post of the IOA?

"IOA should take action in national interest. No person in the country would like a person, who is chargesheeted or is behind the bars, chairing a body," said Union Sports Minister Ajay Maken.

But to get rid of Kalmadi is easier said than done. As president, only he is authorised to call a special general body meeting.

In his absence only Vijay Kumar Malhotra, who is the senior vice president of the IOA can take over and can be appointed interim president. But Malhotra himself falls foul of the sports ministry's guidelines, as he is over 70 years old.

"We are studying the situation, looking at the constitution, and discussing with senior IOA members," said Malhotra.

The IOA general assembly can also force a meeting if 50 per cent of the members give notice. And Kalmadi can be removed only if there is a 2/3rds majority.

IOA sources say that is highly unlikely, as Kalmadi, over the years, has ensured his men make up a majority of the general assembly. The next election is scheduled for 2012.

"Whole system needs to be shaken up. People have been holding up positions for number of years and this is the high time when change comes in," said former India shooter Morad Ali Khan.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) too can step in and ask Kalmadi to go, but for that Kalmadi will have to be convicted in the first place. Many in the IOA are sitting on the fence at the moment waiting to see which way the wind blows.

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