M A I N   N E W S

Cong is quick to suspend him
Sports Minister Ajay Maken tells IOA to select new chief
Vibha Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 25
Congress Pune MP Suresh Kalmadi was suspended from the party immediately after he was arrested by the CBI on charges of cheating, conspiracy and corruption in connection with awarding some CWG contracts.

“The party’s disciplinary committee has suspended Suresh Kalmadi from the membership of the party,” said AICC General Secretary Janardhan Dwivedi minutes after the news of Kalmadi’s arrest. Problems for the sacked CWG Organising Committee chief also mounted in the sphere of sports administration with the Sports Ministry writing to the Indian Olympic Association asking it to consider appointing a new president to replace him.

Sports Minister Ajay Maken said he had told the IOA to select a new president as soon as possible. The Congress, which found itself staring at a series of embarrassing corruption scandals courtesy Kalmadi, had been trying to distance itself from him. Senior leaders said Congress president Sonia Gandhi was clear that the message of “zero tolerance” toward corruption should be heard loud and clear, which is why as soon as Kalmadi was arrested, he was dropped from the party.

The disenchantment of the party with its heavyweight MP became clear soon after the controversial Games got over. At ceremonies held to honour Indian athletes, the Prime Minister did not invite Kalmadi. The Congress, in turn, axed Kalmadi as the secretary of the all-powerful Congress Parliamentary Party on the opening day of the Winter Session of the Parliament, during which the Opposition had threatened to raise the issue of corruption in the Games-related projects.

In the period that followed, the party more or less left Kalmadi to fend for himself.

What was in store for him was clear when while giving credit to the Congress for taking action against Kalmadi, as soon as there was “a whiff of corruption against him”, party spokesperson Manish Tewari earlier in the day promised “appropriate action” against all those found responsible.

“Let there be no ambiguity that appropriate demonstrable action will be taken,” he said.

Meanwhile, Maken said his ministry would also seek the legal advice of the Attorney General. “The government can also act on its own, if the IOA fails to take any action against him,” he said. Under the IOA constitution, Kalmadi cannot be removed unless he himself decides to go or a no-confidence motion is carried by a two-thirds majority.





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