Former India cricket captain Bishen Singh Bedi has welcomed the arrest of Indian Olympic Association president Suresh Kalmadi over corruption charges in the conduct of the Commonwealth Games, which were staged in Delhi last year.
"A good beginning has been made. There is need to clean up the sports arena and boot out politicians who have been holding posts of various sports bodies and refuse to go," said Bedi, in an informal conversation with rediff.com.
Kalmadi was arrested by the CBI on Monday for allegedly awarding a contract for the Commonwealth Games to a Swiss company at an inflated rate of Rs 141 crore in a "pre-meditated" manner.
"There is a government directive on how long can you hold a post. People have been sticking to their posts for 30 years at a stretch. Kalmadi has been sent to jail, but what about [former Indian Premier League commissioner] Lalit Modi, who is having a good time after making money from the IPL to the tune of thousands of crores.
"Why can't the government bring him back to India and send him to jail," added the former spin ace.
Former India hockey captain Pargat Singh too was appreciative of the sacked chairman of the Commonwealth Games organising committe being brought to book.
In a statement, on behalf of Clean Sports India, the former Olympian said, "Welcome the arrest of Indian Olympic Association president Suresh Kalmadi on corruption charges of financial irregularities. Though it is late, but better late than never."
"CSI," the statement added, "looks at this development as an opportunity to kick-start the reforms of Indian sports federations, as Mr Kalmadi was a stumbling block for any reforms."
Former India sprinter Ashwini Nachappa said she will back the sports minister on his plan to introduce sports legislation restricting the term and age of office-bearers of sports federations.
B.V.P.Rao and Reeth Abraham, convener and joint-convener of CSI, said "Kalmadi was the symbol of corruption in sports for over quarter century".
Rao said his arrest "is a historic milestone in sports administration" and the coming days will not be attractive for politicians to take over sports bodies.