New Delhi, Dec 28: Immediately after Union Sports Minister Vijay Goel threatened to sever all ties with the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) for its decision to appoint scam-tainted Suresh Kalmadi and Abhay Singh Chautala as honorary Life Presidents, an under-fire Kalmadi on Wednesday, December 28, declined to accept the post until his name is cleared.
Chautala, however, hit back at Goel for opposing his appointment with the former IOA President even threatening to drag the minister to court.
Chautala and Kalmadi were elevated to Life Presidents by the IOA at its annual general meeting in Chennai on Tuesday, December 27.
The move triggered a storm with the ministry threatening to issue a showcause notice to the IOA and also to break ties with the Olympic body if it failed to retract on its decision on the two tainted administrators.
"The ministry will never accept such tainted people in the Indian Olympic Association and that is why we have expressed our reservations right after they were appointed last evening," Goel told reporters here.
"This move is against the constitution of IOA and is not acceptable to the Sports Ministry. I am disappointed by the decision because both are facing cases of corruption," Goel said.
"The ministry will issue a show cause notice to the IOA within a day or two as the government will in no way allow corrupt people in such posts," he added.
"We want transparency in sports. Till the time these two don't resign or are sacked, we will not deal with the IOA."
The minister said, "We want all the federations to be transparent and corruption free. By appointing Kalmadi and Chautala, what message is the IOA giving out?"
Goel reiterated his stance on Twitter: "Transparency and accountability is vital in sports; until Kalmadi and Chautala resign or are removed, we will not deal with IOA in any form."
Kalmadi served as the IOA President from 1996 to 2011 and was jailed for 10 months for his involvement in the corruption scandal that cast a big shadow on the 2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games, but was later released on bail.
Kalmadi, former Lok Sabha member of Parliament, was also not spared by his ex-party (Congress) colleague Ajay Maken, as the former Sports Minister called the IOA's move "sad and painful".
"As a former sports minister and sports enthusiast, the IOA's decision to appoint Kalmadi and Chautala as Life Presidents of IOA is sad and very painful. This decision is not good for sports and India's image," Maken told reporters earlier in the day.
Faced with criticism from all quarters, Kalmadi wrote a letter to IOA President N. Ramachandran that he has taken the decision to not accept any post until his name being cleared.
"I thank the Indian Olympic Association for conferring the honour of Life President on me. However, I do not feel that it would be appropriate for me to accept this honour at this time," Kalmadi said in the letter.
"I am confident that my name will be cleared, and I will defer acceptance of the honour till such time," he added.
Chautala, on the other hand, said he will take legal action against Goel, who had criticised his appointment.
"I will take legal action against the Sports Minister. I will consult my friends in the IOA and will then take a call on what I need to do next," Chautala was quoted as saying by India Today news channel.