Thu, 22 Mar 2012 02:33:33 GMT

Court asks Kalmadi to quit as IOA chief



New Delhi, March 21 (IANS) The Delhi High Court on Wednesday sought response from Suresh Kalmadi, president of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA), whether he will quit the post - which he has been holding on to for 18 years - 'gracefully', while warning that it will issue show cause notice if he chooses to continue in the post.

A division bench of Acting Chief Justice A.K. Sikri and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw Wednesday sought response within two weeks from Kalmadi, in response to a public interest litigation (PIL) seeking his removal from the office because of his alleged involvement in the multi-crore-rupee Commonwealth Games scam.

The court also sought similar response from two other office bearers of IOA, associate vice-president V.K. Verma and joint secretary Lalit Bhanot, while making it clear that show cause notices will also be issued to them also if they continue to hold office.

The court said that according to the National Sports Development Code of India, 2011, the president of IOA cannot hold the position for more than 12 years, but Kalmadi has been holding the post for around 18 years.

"As per the guidelines, he (Kalmadi) is not eligible to be a president of IOA. He is not eligible to hold the post, so why should he want to continue as president," the court asked

According to Rahul Mehra, who had filed the PIL, Kalmadi, along with many other IOA officials, is currently facing numerous criminal charges, including corruption, before a Special Court.

Mehra also pointed out that the CBI while filing charge sheet has alleged that Kalmadi is the "main accused" in a corruption case pertaining to irregularities in awarding a Games-related contract to a Swiss firm.

The petitioner also pointed out that the IOA president was recently released on bail after spending more than nine months in jail.

Seeking the court's direction to the government to remove Kalmadi and his close aides from IOA, the petition said: "It is shocking to see the blatant disregard of widespread public sentiment and sheer arrogance of some of the officials of IOA who refuse to relinquish their offices despite serious allegations of widespread corruption and in spite of having held such posts for decades in complete violation of the Government Guidelines."

The court posted the matter for further hearing on April 25, within which Kalmadi and aides have to give their responses.

©Indo-Asian News Service

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