New Delhi: Two days after Indian Olympic Association (IOA) was banned by International Olympic Council (IOC), the Indian Amateur Boxing Federation (IABF) met with a similar fate when they were suspended by the international boxing association (AIBA) on Friday for alleged manipulations in its elections.
The suspension order came as a huge setback for the newly-elected IOA president Abhay Singh Chautala, who is also the chairman of the IABF. There were serious allegations that Chautala manipulated the elections on September 23 at Patiala to install his 28-year-old brother-in-law, Abhishek Matolia, a Rajasthan MLA, as the federation president.
Chautala, who already had two terms as the president and was barred from contesting again, under the Government Sports Code, elected himself as the chairman. He also asked the IABF general body to nominate him for the IOA elections so that he can contest for the post of president. Several senior officials of the boxing federation resigned in protest and lodged complaints with the sports ministry.
Among those who quit the boxing federation were senior officials from Meghalaya, Bengal, Orissa and Tripura. Meghalaya met sports ministry officials several times to complain about Chautala's functioning. Bengal's Asit Banerjee tendered his resignation from the post of vice-president.
The AIBA has clearly linked the irregularities in the IABF elections with the just-concluded IOA polls. In a press release from Lausanne, the international body said: "Further to the International Olympic Committee's suspension imposed on the Indian Olympic Association, the international boxing association (AIBA) executive committee bureau has decided on Thursday to provisionally suspend the Indian Amateur Boxing Federation (IABF).
"This provisional suspension is also due to the fact that AIBA had learned about possible manipulation of the recent IABF's election. AIBA will now investigate this election and especially a potential political link between the IOA president, as former Chairman of the IABF, and the IABF election," the release added.
Sources said that the sports ministry, too, was not happy with the functioning of the boxing federation and had already prepared a notice to be served to the IABF asking it to explain its position on the complaints received from different quarters.
Given the way the Archery Association of India (AAI) was served with a notice by the government for not following the Sports Code during its elections last month, it would not be surprising if the IABF, too, receives a similar treatment.
The suspension of the IABF would now also raise questions about the validity of Chautala's election as the head of IOA. The Randhir Singh camp in the IOA would also take this opportunity to point out that no official of a suspended national federation can head the apex body of Indian sport.