The Telegraph
Wednesday , November 21 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999
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IOA polls are likely in early December

New Delhi: The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) elections are likely to be held in the first week of December, a senior IOA official said. The elections were originally scheduled for November 25.

On Tuesday, the three-member election committee, headed by former chief justice of Rajasthan High Court Anil Dev Singh, met in the Capital to discuss about the possible date of elections. The date will be announced in the next couple of days.

The postponement came in the wake of SY Quaraishi’s resignation, who was originally appointed the chairman of the election panel. The new committee will now scrutinise the nomination papers before announcing the election date.

Though Quarashi, a former Chief Election Commissioner, resigned saying the IOA officials backtracked on their promise to hold the poll as per the sports code of the government, the sports ministry officials are still hopeful that it would be difficult for the election panel to ignore the guidelines.

“It will not be easy for IOA to bypass the sports code in their elections,” claimed a top ministry official. “Our observer would be there during the elections and would hand over the returning officer a copy of the High Court order, which clearly said that all sports federations should follow the sports code in their elections. Not to follow it would a contempt of court,” he added.

The IOA elections are turning out to be a bitter ‘presidential’ battle between the current secretary general Randhir Singh and Indian Amateur Boxing Federation (IABF) chairman Abhay Chautala for the post of president. While Chautala is backed by the tainted 2010 Commonwealth Games chief Suresh Kalmadi, Randhir is believed to have the support of a section in the government.

Lalit Bhanot, another Commonwealth Games official, who was jailed and later released on bail on charges of corruption, has filed his nomination for the post of secretary general. He, too, has the backing of Kalmadi and Chautala.

In another development on Tuesday, the IABF gave a reply to the showcause notice served on them by the sports ministry.

The showcause notice was issued after the ministry received several complaints about irregularities during the IABF elections held in Patiala on September 23.

“The IABF reply has come well behind the schedule,” informed a sports ministry official. “As their reply did not come by November 12, we were about to derecognise the body.

“But since they have replied today, we will consider their letter before deciding our next course of action,” he added.

The ministry official also said that a showcause letter would also be issued to Archery Association of India (AAI) for not following the the sports code during its elections earlier this month.