Chennai: Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) secretary-general Kandaswamy Jothikumaran on Tuesday denied he had struck a "corrupt" deal with the reporters of a TV channel that aired a sting operation showing him accepting bribe for inducting a player in the national squad.
The footage showed Jothikumaran accepting a "bribe" of Rs 5,00,000 to include an unnamed player in the national team for next month's Sultan Azlan Shah Cup tournament in Malaysia.
But Jothikumaran asserted at no point in his career as the secretary-general of IHF he had resorted to any corrupt deals.
ON THE DEFENSIVE: Jothikumaran says he thought the money was to meet the expenses for organising an event in India.
"I was genuinely under the impression that a proposal for conducting a big tournament on the lines of Azlan Shah Cup was being debated with me by the reporters. At no point of time did I mention anything about selection," Jothikumaran said in a statement.
"The money they allege that I had taken was in my opinion to meet the initial expenses for organising the event in India. I am hoping to talk to the IHF president K P S Gill and decide how to deal with this issue," he added.
The sting operation has caused quite a buzz in the hockey circles with a senior member of the IHF executive committee informing IANS on condition of anonymity that the television expose was only the tip of the iceberg.
"The point is that we have no issues on who heads the IHF so long as he functions as per the constitution. So far, the administration has flouted virtually every rule in the book. We are hoping that with Jothikumaran's resignation, we will have fresh elections so that a new body takes over," he said.
Reacting to Jothikumaran's claim that he had accepted the money to conduct a tournament, the committee member said: "How can he even make such a claim? You cannot simply announce a tournament and receive funds even before the executive committee clears the proposal.
"There has been no such proposal for a tournament and even if Jothikumaran is speaking the truth, he is still contravening the IHF constitution."
The senior member also said that the federation was in need of a complete overhaul and that is possible only if fresh elections are held.
"IHF needs fresh office-bearers who are in tune with reality and now that Jothikumaran has resigned, let's hope it will bring about a change in the set-up," he said.