For a long time now, Lalit Bhanot has been one of the most powerful figures in Indian sports regardless of the regime in power. Things, however, seem to be getting tougher.
The IOA Ethics Commission, in its meeting on March 9, has ruled that Bhanot will cease to be a member of any committee of the Olympic body with immediate effect as an interim measure pending a final adjudication on charges of impropriety in his appointments. The Commission has also sought details from Bhanot on his positions in the Athletics Federation of India (AFI).
Interestingly, the Commission order also noted that IOA president Narinder Batra had informed its chairman Justice (Retd) V.K. Ghupta on February 17 that Bhanot had resigned from all IOA posts on Oct.5, 2020 and that his resignation shall be treated as accepted with immediate effect.
The IOA website, however, continues to list Bhanot as member of several committees including chairman of the Tokyo Olympics Preparations Committee.
As per the order Bhanot had, in his previous reply to the commission, sought and received three weeks’ time to submit documents to substantiate his submission. The original complaint had been filed by S. Ganesh Moorthi in May 2020 questioning Bhanot’s continuation despite IOC’s directive to not involve charge-framed individuals in sports administration. The same had been red-flagged by BJP leader and Ethics Commission member Sudhanshu Mittal in his letter to the IOC.
Bhanot currently is chairman of the AFI Planning Commission and member of several other committees in the federation.
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