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Jothikumaran says he was framed by news channel
April 22, 2008 20:39 IST
Indian Hockey Federation secretary-general K Jothikumaran, who quit after being shown accepting cash in a television sting operation, claimed that he is innocent and accused the news channel of deliberately distorting his discussions.
"I find that the entire discussions were recorded stealthily, willfully distorted and maliciously edited to show an entirely wrong picture," Jothikumaran said in a statement.
"This is an attempt of unwarranted character assassination to create media sensation and is highly condemnable," he said.
Jothikumaran, who was occupying the post since 1994, said he will stay away from the Indian Hockey Federation till his innocence is proved.
"I have always maintained high moral standards and have been very transparent in all hockey-related matters.
"However, I prefer to keep away from Indian Hockey administration till such time my name is cleared entirely and my innocence is proved. I have full faith in K P S Gill, president, and IHF to look into this matter and render justice," he said.
He, however, insisted that he had no role in team selection in the Indian Hockey Federation and was under the impression that the money given to him was for a six-nation tournament to be organised in India.
"The fact remains that I have never been involved in the selection of national teams, especially for the past one year since I am occupied with the Project Promoting Indian Hockey and preparation for World Cup 2010 Delhi."
In a sting operation, beamed on Monday night, Headlines Today claimed that after receiving cash payment of Rs two lakh and taking a promise of another Rs three lakh to be given to his man in Delhi, Jothikumaran assured the channel's team of getting a player picked to the senior hockey team for the Azlan Shah hockey tournament next month.
It claimed that the bribe money was given to him in a five-star hotel in Delhi in two instalments on April 10 and 11.
"I strongly condemn the slanderous report carried by the TV and unequivocally refute the allegation contained in this sting operation with obvious malicious intentions," Jothikumaran said.
"Two persons purportedly representing M/s Sun Shine Builders and Promoters, Ghaziabad, contacted Indian Hockey Federation offering to sponsor a six-nations hockey tournament at Chandigarh to the tune of Rs 3 crore and, understandably, we were keen to examine the offer.
"During the discussions they confirmed their intention to sponsor the event and offered to pay an advance of Rs five lakh towards initial expenditure involved in the organization of this international tournament.
"During the discussions they mentioned about a player whose selection their chairman was interested and I gave an evasive reply only with an intention not to jeopardise this offer of valuable sponsorship of an international hockey event in the early stage," Jothikumaran said.
He also said he took the reporters to meet with IHF president K P S Gill and discuss the modalities of the tournament.
"Immediately after these discussions, I took them to the residence of the president, IHF where they reaffirmed their interest in sponsoring the six-nations international hockey tournament and discussed the modalities of signing an MOU with Indian Hockey Federation and LSM.
"This clearly established that I was under the impression that they are very keen on running a hockey tournament only," he said.