NEW DELHI: Tainted former IOA President Abhay Singh Chautala today lashed out at Vijay Goel for criticising his appointment as Life President of the national Olympic body, saying the Sports Minister should first focus on his job as he has failed to fulfil his responsibilities.
Sports Minister Goel yesterday criticised the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) for making the tainted duo of Suresh Kalmadi and Chautala Life Presidents, saying it was “totally unacceptable” as both of them were facing serious criminal and corruption charges.
Kalmadi and Chautala were made Life Presidents by the IOA at its Annual General Meeting in Chennai yesterday.
“I was surprised by the reaction of Sports Minister Vijay Goel. He was claiming that there are criminal and corruption cases against me. The case against me is not a criminal case, it is a political case,” a livid Chautala said.
“Mr Goel has failed in his responsibility as a Sports Minister. I would advise him to fulfil his responsibility as Sports Minister because if he does that, our medal count will increase manifold and he will get credit for that. Instead of getting into a controversy without knowing full facts, he should focus on his job,” Chautala added.
Chautala said he has done enough for Olympic sports in India to deserve the IOA Life President’s post.
He also questioned the timing of Goel’s reservation over his current appointment in IOA.
“As far as Mr Goel’s pain over our appointment is concerned, he should be asked, during Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s tenure as Prime Minister, a Sports Council was made and in that Sports Council, Mr Vijay Kumar Malhotra was the Chairman and I was made the vice-Chairman with him. If I had not made any contribution to sports, why was I considered for that position?” Chautala asked.
“And if my presence was so painful for Mr Goel, why did he not raise objections then? As Boxing Federation President for 12 years, I put Indian boxing at a pedestal in the world. It was all because of Haryana’s sports policy,” he added.
Kalmadi served as IOA President from 1996 to 2011 and was jailed for 10 months for his involvement in the 2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games corruption scandal but was later released on bail.
Chautala served as the President of IOA from December 2012 to February 2014 when the national Olympic body was suspended by the International Olympic Committee for fielding charge-sheeted candidates at the elections. His election as IOA chief was annulled by the IOC.