Sports Minister Maken gives National Games closing ceremony a miss

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Ranchi, Feb.27 (ANI):The closing ceremony of 34th National Games that was held here on Saturday evening ended without Union Sports Minister Ajay Maken.

Apparently Maken did not want to be seen with disgraced Indian Olympic Association (IOA) president Suresh Kalmadi in the wake of the recent controversies surrounding the XIXth Commonwealth Games that were held in Delhi in October last year.

Kalmadi attended the closing in his capacity as president of the Indian Olympic Association. Union Minister for Tourism Subodh Kant Sahay and Congress leader Nafisa Ali were also present.

Maken said: “On account of my preoccupation with some pressing issues concerned with the current session of Parliament, I am unable to go to Ranchi for the National Games.”

R. K. Anand, the secretary of the National Games Organising Committee, expressed his disappointment over the absence of country’s top leaders.

“It is a very sad thing that despite this National Games being the best National Games throughout history of the games held in India, it is very unfortunate that none of the dignitaries have come. What is the reason? Why they haven’t come? It is for them to answer. It is sad; it is sad for the state of Jharkhand where President of India has not come, the Prime Minister has not come and Ajay Maken (India’s Sport Minister) may or may not come.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and President Pratibha Devisingh Patil too had earlier refused to attend the closing ceremony of the Games.

Anand said Kalmadi should have cleared his name in New Delhi instead of attending the Games.

“If you ask me if I were in his position, I would have never gone to Ranchi, I would have stayed back in Delhi. I would have faced the prosecution, I would have fought with the government if I am an innocent man,” said Anand.

Kalmadi has been accused of graft in Commonwealth Games related projects. The allegations against him include manipulation of tenders for building stadiums and other games infrastructure, and inflating bills for equipment, including treadmills and toilet paper.

The Congress party sacked Kalmadi from his party post, following allegations of irregularities and mismanagement of the Games.

The Income Tax Department has conducted raids and collected scores of documents from the residence of key aides of Kalmadi. (ANI)

Filed under: Sports

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