IWF general secretary refutes corruption allegation

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Pune, Jul 7 (UNI) Indian Weightlifting Federation (IWF) general secretary Sqn Ldr B R Gulati today refuted the allegation that he took a bribe of Rs five lakh to select the tainted lifter Shailaja Pujari to compete in the Beijing Olympics.

A news report appeared in a section of the media today that the IWF's general secretary had taken Rs five lakh as bribe to select the tainted lifter Shailaja Pujari to compete in the Beijing Olympics, even before the selection process is yet to be completed.

The IWF is currently holding trials to select the sole competitor for the one berth allotted to India for the Beijing Olympics.

The contenders in the fray included Shailaja Pujari from Andhra Pradesh and L Monica Devi, the recent winner of silver and bronze medals at the Asian senior championships held in Kanazawa (Japan) in April this year.

Speaking to UNI, Mr Gulati refuted the allegation of corruption and pointed out that the selection committee has decided to meet again on July 15 to finalise the main contender in fairness to all probables, who are currently going through the selection process.

Explaining the criteria of selection for any weightlifter (Men or Women), he said they have to be assessed by the Selection Committee panel, appointed by the Federation.

The present panel is headed by Venkatramiah (AP). Its other members include T D Roy, Col Ahlawat (permanent invitee as chairman of Scientific Research Committee), Brig Kandari (SSCB nominee). It also has government nominees S L Salwan and Chhaya Adak, besides Sports Authority of India nominee Mr Rana, the project officer of weightlifting.

Mr Gulati said ''It is shocking and surprising that being an ex-officio member of the selection panel, I was needlessly being accused of the bribery charge. Nonetheless, being an ex-officio member of the panel, it is a folly to blame me when I have no role to play in the selection.'' He clarified that his role is only to provide statistical data and selection criteria to the panel.

He alleged that it was nothing but a pressure tactic employed by interested parties to malign his image and at the same time, promote their own candidate for the Beijing Olympics.

''I will never buckle under such pressure tactics whatsoever the consequences, as I am a thoroughbred professional in this sport and striving to redeem the Federation from the stigma it has carried for years in the past,'' he said.

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