Former Congress MP and an accused in the CWG scam Suresh Kalmadi declined to be a lifetime patron of the Indian Olympic Association. His decision came soon after Sport Minister Vijay Goel had threatened to sever all ties with the IOA for its decision.
Abhay Singh Chautala, however, hit back at Goel for opposing his appointment with the former IOA President even threatening to drag the minister to court.
The IOA on Tuesday announced its decision to appoint Kalmadi and Abhay Singh Chautala, who are facing corruption and criminal charges, as honorary Life Presidents. The decision was taken at the IOA's Annual General Body Meeting in Chennai.
Since then, the IOA has been facing criticism for being involved with the duo, with the Sports Minister threatening to break all ties with the IOA if it does not sack Kalmadi and Chautala from its posts of Life Presidents.
The move triggered a storm with the ministry threatening to issue a showcause notice to the IOA and also to break ties with the Olympic body if it failed to retract on its decision on the two tainted administrators.
"The ministry will never accept such tainted people in the Indian Olympic Association and that is why we have expressed our reservations right after they were appointed last evening," Goel told reporters here.
"This move is against the constitution of IOA and is not acceptable to the Sports Ministry. I am disappointed by the decision because both are facing cases of corruption," Goel said.
"The ministry will issue a show cause notice to the IOA within a day or two as the government will in no way allow corrupt people in such posts," he added.
"We want transparency in sports. Till the time these two don't resign or are sacked, we will not deal with the IOA."
The minister said, "We want all the federations to be transparent and corruption free. By appointing Kalmadi and Chautala, what message is the IOA giving out?"
Goel reiterated his stance on Twitter: "Transparency and accountability is vital in sports; until Kalmadi and Chautala resign or are removed, we will not deal with IOA in any form."
Kalmadi served as the IOA President from 1996 to 2011 and was jailed for 10 months for his involvement in the corruption scandal that cast a big shadow on the 2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games, but was later released on bail.
Kalmadi, former Lok Sabha member of Parliament, was also not spared by his ex-party (Congress) colleague Ajay Maken.
Congress leader Ajay Maken urged the Sports Minister and the Centre to put pressure on the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) to revoke its decision.
"Till they are not exonerated by court, they have no right to be IOA members," Maken told the media here while slamming the appointments.
"I cannot believe that chargesheeted people are made (Life) Presidents of the IOA. Feel happy that the Sports Minister issued a strong statement on the matter; he must act now to reverse the decision," the Congress leader said.
Maken, former Union Minister of State for Youth Affairs and Sports, said: "If one cares for sports in the country, one has to rise above political lines. People charge-sheeted in a court of law should not be made lifetime members of the IOA."
"By making Chautala and Kalmadi IOA lifetime members, we are sounding the death knell of Indian sports," he added.
"Since the decision is not an executive one, the Sport Ministry should not have any difficulty in revoking it. In addition, it should approach the Ethics Committee of International Olympic Committee."
The Congress leader said the government should support public interest litigations that are likely to be filed following the IOA decision.
Faced with criticism from all quarters, Kalmadi wrote a letter to IOA President N Ramachandran that he has taken the decision to not accept any post until his name being cleared.
"I thank the Indian Olympic Association for conferring the honour of Life President on me. However, I do not feel that it would be appropriate for me to accept this honour at this time," Kalmadi said in the letter.
"I am confident that my name will be cleared, and I will defer acceptance of the honour till such time," he added.
Chautala, on the other hand, said he will take legal action against Goel, who had criticised his appointment.
"I will take legal action against the Sports Minister. I will consult my friends in the IOA and will then take a call on what I need to do next," Chautala was quoted as saying by India Today news channel.