New Delhi, The Delhi High Court Wednesday issued notice to former Commonwealth Games Organising Committee chief Suresh Kalmadi, an accused in a corruption case, on a plea opposing his visit to London during the Olympics later this month.
The court has also sought a response from the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) within three days, and asked Kalmadi not to leave the country prior to July 26, his scheduled date of departure.
The Public Interest Litigation filed by advocate Rahul Mehra sought the court’s direction to restrain Kalmadi from visiting London saying he was facing trial in a corruption case and could not be allowed to represent the country in an international event.
A division bench of Acting Chief Justice A.K. Sikri and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw, issuing notice to Kalmadi and IOA, which he heads, said: “Issue notice to respondents (IOA and Kalmadi)… He (Kalmadi) is not going to leave the country before his scheduled date of July 26.”
The bench posted the matter for July 24 for further hearing.
The court asked Kalmadi, who is also president of the Asian Athletes Association and member of the Council of International Association of Athletes Federation, not to advance his slated July 26 departure for Olympics.
Mehra, objecting to the London trip of Kalmadi, said he was going to attend the games on public money and in violation of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) code of ethics.
He also alleged that Kalmadi was in jail for nine months in a criminal case and the IOC charter also prohibited such persons from attending any event organised by it.
A special CBI court July 13 had allowed Kalmadi to visit London from July 26-Aug 13 for the London Olympics 2012.
During the hearing countering the argument of Mehra, senior advocate Rajiv Nayyar appearing for Kalmadi, who is out on bail in a graft case related to 2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games, told the court that Kalmadi was leaving for London Olympics on his individual capacity and not in his official capacity as IOA president.
On a court question to Nayyar as to in what capacity Kalmadi was going to London, he said: “He is not representing the government. He is going in his individual capacity as he is being invited there.”
However, refusing to accept the contentions of Nayyar, Mehra said: “Kalmadi is indirectly representing IOA in the Olympic games…” and sought court’s direction to restrain Kalmadi from attending the Olympics.
Mehra told the court that Kalmadi, as a president of IOA, had given two undertakings (in January and February) to remain on prolonged absent from IOA and not to interfere into its day-to-day affairs, following a letter from IOC to comply with its code of ethics, as he was facing a criminal case.
The CBI, in its first chargesheet in the case against Lok Sabha MP Kalmadi and 10 others, described him as a prime accused and the mastermind in the corruption case related to financial irregularities in awarding a Rs.141 crore contract for a scoring system.
The accused officials and two companies were charged under various sections of the Indian Penal Code for cheating, criminal conspiracy and forgery and under the Prevention of Corruption Act.