Reports say Lalit Bhanot, the man who cheated and bungled tons of money in the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi, will fight for the Asian Athletics Association elections on June I. He enjoys the support of Athletics federation of India. This happens only in India! Bhanot was not allowed to contest IOA elections last year by the International Olympic Committee after being jailed in connection with the corruption scandal. There is no such order on him to contest the AAA polls.
Former IOA and AAA chief, Suresh Kalmadi, who was also jailed along with Bhanot in the same case, contested the continental body’s presidential elections in 2013, but he lost the polls.
They are two of the most shameless people ever to hold important positions in sports bodies. Using the sporting event as an opportunity to make millions, they collectively misappropriated crores of rupees, diverting funds to personal accounts. They sold favours to contractors and vendors for huge sums of money. Kalmadi and Bhanot brought disrepute to India’s image. The world forgot about the Games and suddenly everyone was laughing at us. The capital was nicely lit up and adorned but deep inside, Kalmadi and Bhanot were eating away public money.
Lalit Bhanot was branded as a crook. His only motivation was to make money by all means possible. They were thriving while the world was ridiculing us. Lalit Bhanot spent almost a year in jail.
Should people with convictions and questionable integrity be allowed to contest elections? The manner in which Bhanot conducted himself in the CWG building in 2010 is legendary. People who worked there as volunteers recount how lustful the man was. He was seen cosying up to women on multiple occasions. He had a reputation for having an aggressive personality, something he thought went well with women. His dictatorial attitude led to many resignations. He was never a likeable person or pleasant to talk to.
We don’t need people like Lalit Bhanot and Suresh Kalmadi to be sports administrators. There are many capable individuals from the sports fraternity with clean record, who can do a better job than someone who is inherently designed to cheat and loot.