New Delhi: In a dramatic development, the Indian Olympic Association's acting president V K Malhotra and IOC member in India Randhir Singh on Thursday pulled out of the crucial meeting with the International Olympic Committee in Lausanne next week, apparently miffed with the world body's changed stance.
Barely six days before the May 15 meeting to find a way for India's return to the Olympic fold, the pull-out of these two key officials has suddenly put a question mark on the fate of the conclave which is to be attended by a delegation of the Sports Ministry also.
Malhotra and Randhir's decision to boycott the meeting came a day after the IOC agreed to include Hockey India General Secretary Narinder Batra and Jharkhand Olympic Association's R K Anand in the IOA delegation for the meeting, in addition to the four-member list submitted earlier. In a letter to IOC chief Jacques Rogge, Malhotra informed that he would be withdrawing himself since the world body has started interacting with the suspended IOA.
"As the IOC has changed the script for the Lausanne meeting, I want to inform you that I will not be attending the meeting and also here by withdraw the letter I sent to you on May 3, 2013 naming my delegation," Malhotra said in the letter. Malhotra had named a four-member delegation to be led by him for the joint meeting. The other members of the delegation he had named were Tarlochan Singh, S Reghunathan and N Ramachandran.
However, it is learnt that the other members of the delegation will attend the meeting as per schedule. Randhir had also written a letter to the IOC, expressing his inability to attend the meeting. When asked why he was skipping the meeting, Randhir told PTI, "It's an internal matter of the IOC. I will discuss it with the IOC president."
On Wednesday, the IOC had confirmed in a letter that Batra and Anand would be inducted for the joint meeting to be held among the representatives of the IOC, IOA and the Sports Ministry. Malhotra, who has been the only point of contact for the IOC after it suspended the IOA for conducting elections in December last under the controversial Sports Code, said he was surprised by the world body changing its stand by allowing a couple of names recommended by the banned Chautala-led dispensation.
"It was IOC which invited me along with a small delegation for the meeting at Lausanne for discussion to end the deadlock. But it is intriguing that IOC has on its own added couple of names in the delegation recommended by the newly elected but suspended IOA," he said. "That means that that IOC has changed its stand and recognised the office bearers of the IOA, which it had suspended, by directly dealing with them," he added.
A miffed Malhotra accused the IOC of taking a contradictory approach in the whole issue which he said has created a confusion. "... several communications kept us reminding that IOC does not and will not recognise the (December 5) elections.
Elections are null and void and so called elected office bearers have no legitimate claim to represent the IOA. IOC also held the view that it will never accept Government's interference in the affairs of the NOC," he said.