New Delhi: The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) today lashed out at the Sports ministry for interfering in its affairs and its election process.
The association has also strongly objected to Secretary Sports PK Deb's writing to International Olympic Committee (IOC) president about IOA and called it a Government's assault on the autonomy of the Sports Federations of the country.
In a communiqué to IOC president Jacques Rogge, IOA's acting-president Vijay Kumar Malhotra said that the said letter is a "bizarre testimony of the half-truths and distorted facts by the very senior official of the Government of India".
"The very fact that Mr. Deb has directly written to you and the IOC bypassing the Indian Olympic Association, shows the Government's intentions, interests and interference in the affairs of the IOA."
"The double speak of the Government of India (GOI) is clear as on one hand it says that it has no 'intentions whatsoever to interfere in the functioning of the IOA' and on the other it is insisting that National Sports Federations (NSF) should accept it's so called Sports Code," Malhotra wrote.
"Just to give you an example the Sports ministry has written to me seeking the information regarding the just held elections of the office bearers of the Archery Association of India (AAI). It seeks details of age and tenures held by the office bearers."
"The Sports Code of the GOI violates everything for which the IOA constitution and the IOC charter stand for."
"I am surprised at the audacity of the Sports ministry of the Government of India to misrepresent the IOA at the highest international forum." said Malhotra.
"The only bone of contention between the IOA and the Government is the Sports Code which we have rejected out rightly".
The IOC had made it clear in the letters to the IOA that "'the NOC internal operations, decision making mechanisms, election arrangements etc all come under the exclusive responsibility and competence of the NOC and must not be subject to any external pressure or interference"
Malhtora further adds that: "The number of terms of the office-bearers and (ii) a potential age limit for the members of the NOC or the NSF shall not be decided or imposed by law or external body's decision but shall be decided by the respective organisations".
The IOA elections are due on December 5.