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IOA takes shelter under legal loopholes

IOA takes shelter under legal loopholes
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Stung by International Olympic Committee's directive to bar charge-sheeted persons from contesting elections, Indian Olympic Association on Friday shot off a letter to its parent body, saying that it cannot implement these provisions as it has to follow the law of the country. The IOC had on Thursday sent the revised draft Constitution of the IOA which envisages barring of corruption-tainted persons from contesting IOA elections and had asked the national apex body to revert back on Friday if they have any objection or comments.

Stung by International Olympic Committee's directive to bar charge-sheeted persons from contesting elections, Indian Olympic Association on Friday shot off a letter to its parent body, saying that it cannot implement these provisions as it has to follow the law of the country. The IOC had on Thursday sent the revised draft Constitution of the IOA which envisages barring of corruption-tainted persons from contesting IOA elections and had asked the national apex body to revert back on Friday if they have any objection or comments.


"To be eligible as an office-bearer or member of the Executive Council, a member must: be a citizen of India; be in full possession of his/her civil rights; not face charges framed against him/her by any court in India, in respect of a criminal or corruption offense which would be punishable with imprisonment if he/she was convicted; not have been convicted of any criminal or corruption offense," the IOC had said.


This provision will effectively mean that officials like Suresh Kalmadi, Lalit Bhanot and V K Verma who had been chargesheeted in connection with 2010 Commonwealth Games scam, will not be able to contest IOA elections. It is learnt that the IOA sent a letter to the IOC today pointing out that the law in India does not bar charge-sheeted persons from contesting even parliamentary elections.


"We have written a letter to the IOC in reply to the revised draft, saying that we are bound by the law of the land. We have written that in India, chargesheeted persons can contest even Parliamentary elections," a top IOA official told PTI.
"If chargesheeted persons can contest Parliamentary elections, how can it be that they cannot contest IOA elections. A person is innocent till he is convicted," he added.


Explaining further, he said, "Let us say, we have barred such people from contesting IOA elections and then they go to the court of law which says they can contest elections, what will we do. Should we follow Indian law or IOC's rules in such cases?" he asked.


"We have explained all these to the IOC and we are hoping that a positive outcome will come. The IOC will have to understand that it (IOC) cannot implement something on IOA which is permitted by the Indian law. Otherwise, we will be in trouble again like last year (when IOA was banned for holding elections under court orders)," he said. The official said that the Extraordinary General Body Meeting on August 25 will decide the issue.


"The IOC has sent the proposals to us. These cannot be final and the House will decide what to do," he said. Asked about the reduction of votes of National Sports Federations from current three to two and that of state Olympic bodies from two to one, the official said, "We don't know what the IOC wants. The IOC had approved the existing situation last year only.

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