Thursday 27 October 2016

CWG: Two Indian Olympic Officials Arrested

Glasgow/New Delhi
PTI Photo/ TV Grab (Courtesy Times Now)

In a massive embarrassment to the country at the Comonwealth Games, IOA secretary general Rajeev Mehta has been arrested for alleged drunken driving while wrestling referee Virender Malik has been detained on a charge of sexual assault, triggering demands for serious action against them.

A Scotland Police spokeswoman confirmed the arrests but refused to divulge anything more.

"On the August 2, a 49-year-old man was arrested following reports of an alleged assault at City Centre of Glasgow. On August 2, a 45-year-old man was arrested following reports of an alleged assault in the west of Glasgow," said the spokeswoman.

The two will be produced in court tomorrow.

The duo was, however, not staying with the official 215-strong contingent which is putting up at the Games village. Both of them were reportedly lodged at a local hotel.

Asked if Malik had been arrested for alleged sexual assault, the spokeswoman said, "I cannot confirm right now."

"We are aware of the matter. It is a matter of Scotland Police and any question related to this issue should be addressed to them," said Commonwealth Games Federation CEO Mike Hooper.

The charges led to an outcry from various quarters demanding strict action against the duo. Sports minister Sarbananda Sonowal has promised to take stern actions if the allegations are proved to be true.

"The detailed information of the incident is not available with us right now. Our officials have been instructed to communicate with the High Commission and also the local police of Scotland. Whatever information is available with us, they will be provided in the court of law tomorrow and in the court if they (two officials) are proved wrong, law will take its own course," said Sonowal.

"Whatever the media has reported so far, if these are proved to be right, then definitely we will condemn it... because our athletes are putting in their hard work and dedication for the cause of the country. But this kind of incidents definitely hurt every Indian. Stern action will be taken if the allegations are true," the minister further added.

The Indian Consulate in Edinburgh said it is liaising with the police on the matter.

"We have learnt about the detention of two members of the Commonwealth contingent by the local (Glasgow) police. Our Consulate in Edinburgh has deputed an official to Glasgow to keep in close touch with the police authorities to ascertain full factual details of the case," a spokesman said.

"We are also in touch with the team," he added.

Former acting president of the Indian Olympic Association Vijay Kumar Malhotra expressed shock at the arrest of the two officials.

In a statement here today, Malhotra said though the full details regarding the arrest of these two officials are yet to come, these episodes are highly disturbing, shocking and are not acceptable.

"This is the first time that such a senior official of the IOA, which is country's premier sports body, has been arrested abroad. This has embarrassed the Indian sportspersons who have done well in the ongoing Games. It has brought disrepute to the IOA," Malhotra said in a statement.

"Arrest of IOA Secretary General in a foreign country on the charges of violating law of that land is a very grave issue," he added.

Malhotra also urged the IOA president N Ramachandran, who himself is in Glasgow, to personally look into the incident.

"Mr Ramachandran should convene an emergency meeting of the IOA as soon as he returns from Glasgow and take stern action against the officials, if they are found guilty," said Malhotra.

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