Under intense pressure from various quarters, embattled Abhay Singh Chautala on Thursday offered to relinquish the life presidency of the Indian Olympic Association, but only if the International Olympic Committee has reservations about his elevation to the position.
Chautala, who has been chargesheeted in a disproportionate assets case, and 2010 Commonwealth Games corruption scandal tainted Suresh Kalmadi were made Life Presidents at the IOA's Annual General Meeting in Chennai on December 27, stunning the Indian sporting fraternity and leaving the Sports Ministry fuming.
Kalmadi chose to step aside on Wednesday and Chautala said he was ready to do so but with a rider that IOA president Narayanswami Ramachandran should take up the matter with the IOC and he will resign only after the international parent body disapproves of him taking up the honourary position.
"I wish to thank the IOA for nominating me to the ceremonial position of Lifetime President and I have already informed the President IOA, through a separate letter, that if IOC is not favourably inclined to my taking over as Hon. Life President after the (IOA) President has had an opportunity of discussing this matter personally with IOC, I will be pleased to sacrifice my position in the best interest of Indian sports, sportspersons, good Governance, transparency and cleanliness in India sports," Chautala said in a statement.
He took a swipe at Sports Minister Vijay Goel, who has issued a show-cause notice to the IOA, threatening to derecognise it for the controversial decision.
"I am surprised at the reaction of the Minister of Sports Shri Vijay Goel and the media attention which was given to this ceremonial recognition for my humble contribution to sports. I have made sacrifice in 2013 by resigning from the post of President, although I was elected President in accordance with IOA Constitution, Indian Constitution and in a most transparent manner in an election conducted by three eminent Judges," said Chautala.
"Even my presence to witness Rio Olympics has been questioned. I am personally aware of the conduct of Minister of Sports at Rio where IOC had questioned the behaviour of the Minister and his associates and threatened to withdraw his accreditation. I do not wish to dwell more on this subject as I do not want to embarrass the Minister. If necessary, I will brief the Hon'ble Prime Minister on this issue of Rio Olympics."
Image: Abhay Singh Chautala