An Indian sports official accused of corruption over the 2010 Commonwealth Games was Friday elected to the country’s Olympic body, despite a warning from the International Olympic Committee.
Lalit Bhanot, the former secretary-general for the Delhi Games’ organising committee, was elected secretary-general of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA).
He spent 11 months in custody last year over corruption charges before being released on bail.
The Ethics Commission of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in October warned the Indian body against fielding either Bhanot or former IOA chief Suresh Kalmadi – who is also on bail over corruption charges.
Elections for the faction-ridden IOA were due to be held on December 5, but became a formality after a rival group led by IOC member Randhir Singh withdrew from the contest last week.
Bhanot was the only candidate left in the field when the IOA’s election commission announced the list, while Indian boxing federation chief Abhey Singh Chautala was elected unopposed as president. Both men have been close associates of Kalmadi.
The IOC is already contemplating suspending India from its membership if it finds the national federation did not conduct the elections in line with the Olympic charter. It is due to make a decision at its Executive Board meeting on December 4 and 5.
The IOA had been directed by a Delhi court to hold elections according to the government’s sports code, while the IOC wanted the federation to abide by the Olympic charter.
Suspension from IOC membership would mean India will no longer receive funding from the organisation and its officials would be banned from attending Olympic meetings and events.
India’s athletes would also be barred from competing in the Olympic Games under the national flag, although the IOC could allow some to take part under the Olympic flag.