NEW DELHI: The Indian Olympic Association on Sunday managed to dilute the contentious clause which would bar chargesheeted officials from contesting elections while accepting all the other amendments proposed by the International Olympic Committee, clearing the decks for an early return to the Olympic fold.
The IOA officials, who were strongly opposed to the chargesheet clause, proposed to apply it to only convicted persons. It means that only those who are held guilty by a court for a jail term of two or more years will not be able to contest elections.
If the amendments agreed to in a marathon Special General Body Meeting of the IOA are accepted by the IOC, it will be a huge reprieve for the likes of Lalit Bhanot and VK Verma who were chargesheeted in 2010 Commonwealth Games scam along with former IOA chief Suresh Kalmadi as they will be allowed to contest elections in that situation.
All the other amendments proposed by the IOC in the revised draft constitution sent on August 15 have been accepted by the GBM.
“We have accepted all the amendments proposed by the IOC except the chargesheet clause. We have modified that clause and now only those persons who have been convicted by a court for a jail term of two or more years will not be able to contest elections and will be disqualified automatically. This is the same as in Peoples Representation Act of Parliament,” S Reghunathan, who chaired the meeting, told reporters.
“The cases of those persons who are convicted for a jail term for less than two years will be referred to the Ethics Commission of the IOA and the IOA Executive Committee will take a final decision on the recommendations by Ethics Commission,” he said.
Francisco Elizaide, one of the three IOC observers in the GBM, said he was by and large satisfied with the decisions taken by the IOA GBM, including the issue of chargesheeted persons being barred from elections.
He said he has a “positive feeling” and chances of India’s return to the Olympic gold are “improving”.
The GBM was attended by around 160 IOA members, including Randhir Singh, IOC member in India, office bearers and Executive Committee members of the suspended IOA and members of state Olympic bodies.
VK Malhotra, who is technically still the IOA acting chief recognised by the IOC, did not turn up for the meeting.
The IOA will now have to wait for IOC’s decision on the amendments passed on Sunday before the elections proposed to be held on September 29 to pave the way for India’s return to the Olympic fold.
Reghunathan, who was elected as chairman before the start of the meeting, said that the IOA decided to continue with the earlier representation of the National Sports Federations and state Olympic bodies in the GBM and elections.
“We have decided that the NSFs will have three votes while state units will have two. Union Territories which have Assemblies will have two votes while other UTs will have one vote,” he said.
Regarding the age and tenure rules, Reghunathan said, “The age rule applied to the IOC members will apply to IOA also. And we have accepted the tenure rules proposed by the IOC but will apply to only to three office bearers namely president, secretary general and treasurer.”
The IOA also decided to prune down the number of Executive Council members from existing 39 to 29 while the president can nominate 10 Executive Committee members who will not have voting rights.
The GBM also constituted a three-member Election Commission for the September 29 polls. Retired Justices M R Kalra, S N Sapra and Lokeshwar Prasad will be the members. The first is the retired Chief Justice of Rajasthan high court while the other two were Delhi high court Justices.
Bhanot said that the IOA officials were united in their stand and the IOC observers understood the feeling of the House.
“The meeting went very well. All the decision were taken as per voting and what the majority said. The House was very much united and the IOC observers understood the feeling of the house. We are very hopeful that something positive will come,” he said.