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Rajeev Mehta faces the heat

New Delhi: The arrest of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) secretary-general Rajeev Mehta in Glasgow for drunken driving has left the apex body of Indian sports in a fix.

While a section of top officials, including former president Vijay Kumar Malhotra, has demanded stringent action against Mehta, sources claimed the tainted official had been running the association in a high-handed manner since his elevation to the top post.

Mehta, who is also the president of the Uttarakhand Olympic Association, replaced Randhir Singh at the IOA in a controversial manner in February this year. He received the support of IOA strongmen Lalit Bhanot and Abhay Singh Chautala. Once considered a rank outsider, Mehta’s style of functioning has come under scanner several times since then.

Mehta was arrested in Glasgow while returning from a dinner organised by the Gymnastic Federation of India to celebrate Dipa Karmakar’s historic medal win. Sources said the Indian consulate in Glasgow has arranged for lawyers for Mehta and also for the wrestling referee, Virender Singh Malik, who was arrested for sexual assault.

Virender, younger brother of India’s chief women’s wrestling coach, Kuldeep Singh, is believed to have been arrested for misbehaving with a staff of the hotel he was staying in. A highly experienced international referee, Virender was taken to custody at 3.15 am.

Pointing out that Mehta has brought disrepute to the country, Malhotra, also the president of Archery Association of India, said: “The arrest of IOA secretary-general in a foreign country on the charges of violating law is a very grave issue. (IOA president) Ramachandran should convene an emergency meeting as soon as he returns from Glasgow and take stern action against the officials, if they are found guilty.”

Equally strong was the reaction of an official of the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI), who felt Mehta should immediately resign. “He has no moral right to continue even for a minute,” the official said. Incidentally, NRAI is close to ousted Randhir Singh group in the IOA.