Vijay Kumar Malhotra, acting president of the Indian Olympic Association, hit out at Minister for Sports and Youth affairs Ajay Maken for taking "hasty action" in the doping scandal, in which eight women athletes tested positive in out-of-competition tests.
Maken had, on Tuesday, sacked Ukrainian athletics coach Yuri Ogrodnik for lack of supervision and providing the athletes â six of whom are 400 metres runners -- food supplements, and announced a judicial probe into the sordid affair by a high court judge. He asked the Director General of Sports Authority of India to visit NIS Patiala and submit a report to him within three days.
"The minister should not have taken hasty action, particularly when he had announced a judicial probe himself," Malhotra told rediff.com over phone.
Malhotra had promised strict action against the erring official less then 24 hours back, but soon after the minister of sports announced a series of measures to end the doping menace he changed his stand.
"Some sportspersons have brought shame to the country and it is not acceptable. The IOA will not spare any guilty persons involved in this disgraceful activity but before that I will like to know the full facts," Malhotra said in a statement.
He asserted that the IOA has a zero tolerance policy on doping.
"We want sports to be drug free; India is a party to the International Charter on this issue," he said.
Malhotra said it was shocking that it was WADA, the international agency, that first caught the tainted athletes.
"Only later did our domestic agency NADA swing into action," he said.
He stressed the fact that this is not the first time that sports has disgraced the country, but wanted to know what the officials responsible for training and coaching in the Sports Authority of India centres are doing.
"The IOA wants a comprehensive inquiry to expose the nexus between the medicine (drug) suppliers, coaches, doctors, other officials along with involved sportspersons. The IOA is not taking the issue lightly, nor it will sweep the matter under the carpet, because some potential medal winners are involved," he emphasized.
Coach Ogrodnik defended himself, saying that he has no role in the scandal.
Out of the eight athletes who returned positive for anabolic steroids, six -- Ashwini Akkunji, Mandeep Kaur, Sini Jose, Jauna Murmu, Tiana Mary Thomas and Priyanka Panwar -- are all 400 metres runners.
The athletes, including Mandeep Kaur and Sini Jose, had said they suspected the vitamin supplements, consumed on the recommendation of their coach, as the source of the anabolic steroids.
Long Jumper Hari Krishnan Muralidharan and shot putter Sonia are the other athletes who tested positive in the last few days.