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IHF accepts Jothikumaran's resignation

Last updated on: April 22, 2008 15:24 IST

The Indian Hockey Federation, on Tuesday, accepted the resignation of its secretary-general K Jothikumaran.

Jothikumaran had quit after a television channel aired video clips of him accepting a bribe to induct a player in the national squad.

"We have accepted his resignation. I am out of Delhi right now. When I return we will take stock of the situation," IHF chief KPS Gill said.

A sting operation by a television news channel showed Jothikumaran accepting Rs 2 lakh to include a player in the squad for next month's Azlan Shah hockey tournament in Malaysia.

The channel claimed Jothikumaran, who was IHF secretary-general for close to 15 years, took a promise of an additional Rs 3 lakh to be handed over to his man in Delhi.

Jothikumaran has denied that he had resorted to any corrupt deals and said he accepted the money under the impression that it was for a proposal to conduct a big tournament.

"I was genuinely under the impression that a proposal for conducting a big tournament on the lines of Azlan Shah tournament was being debated with me by the reporters. At no point of time did I raise anything about selection," Jothikumaran said.

"The money they allege that I had taken was in my opinion to meet the initial expenses for organising the event in India on the same lines of Azlan Shah tournament," he added.

Meanwhile, the issue had its echo in Parliament, with members demanding stern action, including a legislation, to bring sports bodies under the government's watchful eye to weed out corruption.

Several members in the Lok Sabha wanted legislation, if need be, to ensure that government could oversee the functioning of the bodies so that players get a fair deal.

In the Rajya Sabha, Samajwadi Party member Shahid Siddiqui demanded the resignation of the controversial IHF chief K P S Gill as also disbanding of the federation in the wake of the incident involving Jothikumaran.

Raising the issue in the Lok Sabha, V K Malhotra (BJP) said the matter should not end with Jothikumaran's resignation and criminal proceedings should also be initiated as it has tarnished the country's reputation.

He said the Indian Olympic Association and government should deliberate on the matter to find out ways and means to avert such a situation.

Apparently referring to India's failure to qualify for the Beijing Olympics, Mohan Singh (SP) regretted that hockey, despite being the national game, has become "a joke".

"When we asked how we failed, government told us that the federation is autonomous and independent. Has the autonomy been given to do wrong things?", he asked. Singh and Devendra Prasad Yadav (RJD) demanded steps including legislation to oversee the functioning of sports bodies.

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