IOA says will bear cost of its officials; ministry fumes

IOA says will bear cost of its officials; ministry fumes

NEW DELHI: Another round of sparring between the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) and the sports ministry is on the cards. And this time the battle lines have been drawn over the IOA’s decision not to share its own list of officials with the ministry.

The IOA decided against sending names of its 12 officials (including seven office staff) – who will be travelling for the Asian Games – to the ministry, despite the ministry’s several reminders. These names include those of chef-de-mission Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh and his four deputies – Rajkumar Sacheti, Col Satyavrat Sheoran, Balbir Singh Kushwaha and Dev Kumar Singh.

IOA’s contention is that since it will bear the cost of their travel and stay, it is under no obligation to share the list with the ministry. Moreover, it said it’s the IOA’s prerogative to send the contingent being the country’s national Olympic committee (NOC).

The IOA’s move was apparently meant to shield its officials from the ministry’s sword as it’s been learnt that the ministry wasn’t happy with the choice of tainted sports administrator Sacheti as Brij Bhushan’s deputy. Sacheti’s past includes a CBI probe into alleged irregularities committed during his tenure as the joint director general of the 2010 Delhi CWG’s Organising Committee (OG). His recent appointment raised a few eyebrows owing to his current position as the ‘executive director’ of the Boxing Federation of India (BFI).

However, Sacheti’s proximity with ex-IOA chief Suresh Kalmadi, under whom he worked as a private secretary, and former IOA secretary general Lalit Bhanot can’t be ignored. This time, the IOA seems to have upped the ante by not sharing the list. IOA said the same had been done during the 2016 Rio Olympics. However, for this year’s Gold Coast CWG, the list had been shared with the ministry, which had Vikram Sisodia as the chef-de-mission.

Sacheti is expected to leave early Saturday morning to attend the delegate registration meeting (DRM) from August 11 to 13, which should ideally be attended by the chef-de-mission. But against the norm, Brij Bhushan has decided to skip it and will travel on August 14 only after attending some political meetings in Meerut.

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