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SWITZERLAND: IOC suspends India for nominations of corrupt officials


The International Olympic Committee has suspended India from taking part in Olympic meetings and events. The suspension resulted from India's refusal to hold an independent vote when nominating officials.

The suspension, issued by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in Lausanne on Tuesday, also bars Indian athletes from competing under India's flag. The athlete's could, in some cases, still compete under the Olympic flag.

The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) is scheduled to hold a vote on Wednesday to elect top officials in its organization, but the IOC says it will not recognize this.

According to the IOC, the IOA preferred to elect the officials based on its own charter rather than the Olympic charter.

"The executive board decided to suspend the Indian Olympic Association due to its failure to comply to the Olympic charter and its statute, fail to inform the IOC in a timely manner, and as a protective measure to government interference in the election process," said the IOC'S director of communications, Mark Adams, on Tuesday.

Financial support from the IOC will also no longer be available to the IOA as a result of the suspension.

Two men in particular put the IOA at odds with the IOC. Lalit Bhanot, tipped as a candidate for the IOA's secretary general, is out on bail on charges relating to corruption in the 2010 Commonwealth Games, which were held in New Delhi. Abhay Singh Chautala was a likely choice for the IOA's president, but he has ties to another man out on bail on corruption charges relating to the Commonwealth Games.

"This is wrong and completely unilateral," Chautala told reporters on Friday after the IOC had warned of a possible suspension.

A court in Delhi had told the IOA to proceed with its election based on the national sports code. Acting IOA President Vijay Kumar Malhotra said he felt caught between his government on one side and the IOC on the other.

"Now the IOC is complaining of government interference, while court and government want us to go by the code," he said. "We were caught in the crossfire. We will try and find some reconciliation so that our athletes don't suffer."

mz/jr (AFP, Reuters)

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