IOA Holds Election Despite IOC Suspension

By John Athanasiou | December 6, 2012

The suspended Indian Olympic Association (IOA) has defied the IOC by conducting its controversial election to pick a new Secretary-General.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) suspended the IOA on Tuesday for allowing government interference in the election and said the body was no longer entitled to hold the election.

Defiant Indian officials went ahead with the poll, named Lalit Bhanot as the new Secretary-General.

Bhanot spent 11 months in custody last year following corruption charges related to the Delhi 2010 Commonwealth Games and is out on bail.

The IOA had been directed by a Delhi court to hold the election under a controversial government sports code, but the IOC wanted it to follow its own constitution and the Olympic charter.

Boxing federation chief Abhay Singh Chautala, who was elected unopposed as IOA President, said the court order left them with no other option but to conduct the poll.

“I want to reiterate that we have done nothing wrong by going ahead with the polls. We have to obey the law of the land,” Chautala said.

Bhanot said he would quit his post if found guilty in the corruption case.

The IOC has dismissed the election outcome.

“Those elections are null and void, they won’t count,” IOC spokesman Mark Adams said. “They can go ahead with them but they won’t have any validity.

“We have to regain our confidence that the Indian Olympic Association is acting independently of government and that the government is not interfering. At the moment, the IOC is not satisfied that this is the case.”{jcomments on}