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Move to keep Rajiv out of the torch relay

New Delhi: Despite a Glasgow court letting off Indian Olympic Association (IOA) secretary general, Rajiv Mehta, on Monday, there is resentment brewing against him within the IOA.

Mehta was let off on charges of drunken driving due to lack of evidence.According to sources, a move has already been initiated to keep Mehta out of the Incheon Asian Games torch relay ceremony, to be held in the capital on August 9.

“IOA president NR Ramachandran is extremely upset with the developments in Glasgow over the last few days,” said a source. He is believed to have asked the IOA officials to keep Mehta out of the torch relay function.

It is also not clear whether Mehta would be invited for the Sports Authority of India’s (SAI) award function for Commonwealth Games medal winners on August 8.

There is unconfirmed news that the sports ministry has already received a report from the Indian High Commission in London on the incidents involving Mehta and the wrestling referee, Virender Malik. During the SAI award ceremony, each of India’s 15 gold medal winners would be given Rs 20 lakh. Each silver medal winner would receive Rs 10 lakh, while the bronze medal winners will get Rs 6 lakh each.

There are also allegations that Mehta included undeserving people as official delegates of the Indian contingent. A Dehradun school principal was among the 14 delegates, though she was hardly involved in any sport.

However, chances of Mehta stepping down from his position in the IOA are slim, despite demands by senior officials including former president Vijay Kumar Malhotra. Mehta enjoys full support of powerful officials like Lalit Bhanot and Abhay Singh Chautala and is expectedto last the full term.

However, things could turn worse for him once he returns to the country on Wednesday. Accused of being involved in financial irregularities during some sports events in 2004 in Uttarakhand, Mehta might face the wrath of the state government in the next few days.

The state government has now decided to fast track the probe against Mehta, who had allegedly submitted false and bogus bills to claim money from it.

The issue can spell doom for the official since, as per the new IOA constitution, any official having criminal cases pending against him will not be allowed to continue in office. It remains a mystery how Mehta contested the IOA elections in February, when the case against him was still pending in Dehradun.

The IOA officials, however, are bit unhappy that the sports ministry would not be giving the enhanced cash awards to the Commonwealth Games medal winners, as per the changes proposed in the 100-day plan of the new government.

Under the 100-day plan of the sports ministry, it has been proposed that gold medal winners in the Asian Games, Commonwealth Games and World championship should get Rs 30 lakh each, while the silver and bronze medal winners would receive Rs 20 lakh and Rs 10 lakh, respectively.