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IOA divided as Suresh Kalmadi's return as chief on the cards


Digvijay Singh Deo,CNN-IBN
Jan 19, 2012 at 09:14pm IST

New Delhi: Suresh Kalmadi, the main accused in the CWG scam, on Thursday got bail after spending nine months in Tihar Jail. But even as he walks out of the jail, the question raised is - should he continue as the Indian Olympics Association (IOA) President?

For more than a decade now, Suresh Kalmadi has lorded over the Indian Olympic Association, and now after going through the worst phase in his life, Kalmadi, is set to return as IOA chief, but there is obvious discomfort within the IOA about that eventuality.

While the legalities are being discussed, his rivals have already fired their first salvo - IOA Vice President Tarlochan Singh said Acting President VK Malhotra should remain in charge till the London Olympics.

"We are few month away from Olympic so VK Malhotra should continue (as IOA President). Commonwealth Games corruption allegation has tainted not just the IOA but also Olympic movement in the country. Suresh Kalmadi has long legal battle to fight. But VK Malhotra should continue as President. We have vested all power and support of the members. It's up to Kalmadi to decided what he wants to do," said Singh.

So, how is this possible? Under the IOA Constitution, if the President is indisposed, the senior vice president in this case VK Malhotra will officiate in his absence. Moreover, although Kalmadi has been in jail since April 2011, the IOA has made no attempt to remove him from the office.

CNN-IBN has accessed a letter written by the International Olympics Committee in August last year asking the IOA for its stand on Kalmadi. CNN-IBN has also learnt that at a stormy AGM on December 16, Kalmadi loyalists scuttled a move to put an ethics commission in place. So, were they planning for Kalmadi's smooth return to the top?

"They are all hand-in-glove. They don't want to take action because everybody in the IOA are in someway or the other collaborator with Suresh Kalmadi. So, they are protecting their boss," said Clear Sports India Founder PVK Rao.

The IOA sources say the next move is Kalmadi's. He can resign to save the body from public relations disaster. But Kalmadi is a canny player and might not give up so easily.

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