New Delhi: Sacked Commonwealth Games Organising Committee chief Suresh Kalmadi has been allowed to visit London during the Olympic Games but he cannot attend any event in his official capacity, the Delhi High Court ruled on Wednesday. He can only attend the sporting extravaganza as an individual.
While allowing Kalmadi to visit London, the bench of Acting Chief Justice AK Sikri and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw directed him not to leave India before July 27, the day of the Olympics opening ceremony. He has also been barred from attending the London Games opening ceremony.
"From the national point of view, we have decided the matter and he should not participate in the opening ceremony of the Olympics. His participation can cause embarrassment to the country. National interest is the prime concern," the bench observed.
A copy of the court order is to be given to International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), which will decide whether Kalmadi can attend its meetings or not.
The court order also mentions that in the age of information technology news travels very fast, hence his action might cause embarrassment to the country, the government and the people.
The court also debunked Kalmadi's argument that he is representing Asia and not India after he argued that the IAAF had invited him as he was Asian Athletes Association (AAA) President.
Sports Minister Ajay Maken welcomed the court order. "High court denies permission to Suresh Kalmadi to attend Olympic opening ceremony. Good work Rahul Mehra!" tweeted Maken.
Lawyer Rahul Mehra had filed a PIL pleading before the court that Kalmadi should not be allowed to attend London Olympic as he was accused in 2010 Commonwealth Games related corruption cases.
The court had on Tuesday reserved the order after both the sides argued for almost two hours. In a hearing on Tuesday, the judge said it's bizarre that Kalmadi became the president of the Asia Athletic Association because he was a member of Athletic Federation of India and now he claims he has nothing to do with the Federation or the Indian Olympic Association.
"You say you don't represent India but you are going as a member of Asia Athletic Association which represents the whole of Asia and India is of course a part of it," the court told Kalmadi.
Kalmadi had contended that the PIL was motivated and directed against him. But the PIL had submitted that he was not visiting London in his personal capacity and that he should refrain himself from attending the Olympics on moral and ethical values.
The court had on July 18 sought Kalmadi's reply on Mehra's plea for restraining him from going for the games and had asked him not to advance his slated July 26 departure for it.
On July 13, a special CBI court had allowed Kalmadi to go to London from July 26 to August 13.
Mehra has objected to Kalmadi's proposed London sojourn, contending that he is going to attend the games with public money and in violation of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) code of ethics.
He had sought the high court's direction to restrain hiim from visiting London on the ground that he is facing trial in a corruption case and cannot be allowed to represent the country in an international event.
The Lok Sabha MP and 10 others have been chargesheeted by CBI under various provisions of the Indian Penal Code and the Prevention of Corruption Act for allegedly "illegally" awarding a contract to install Timing, Scoring and Results (TSR) system for the 2010 Commonwealth Games to Swiss Timing, causing a loss of over Rs 90 crore to the exchequer.
(With additional information from PTI)