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Sports Minister too meddlesome: Malhotra

February 03, 2010 16:45 IST

Senior sports administrator V K Malhotra on Wednesday lashed out at M S Gill, saying the "meddlesome rent-a-quote" Sports Minister was out to usurp the autonomy of the National Sports Federations (NSF).

Malhotra, president of General Association of National Sports Federations, flayed Gill, alleging the overzealous Sports Ministry's repeated interference has jeopardised the autonomy of the NSFs.

"There has been unnecessary meddling in the affairs of sports bodies at the Ministry's behest. They are trying to select teams in shooting and conduct the election in hockey.

This cannot go on," Malhotra told reporters in New Delhi on Wednesday.

"They recently laid down 37 conditions and gave recognition to NSFs for one year. This is shocking since NSFs get recognition from international parent bodies and Ministry or Government has no business with it," said Malhotra, who also heads the Archery Association of India.

He advised Gill to learn a lesson from Kuwait and stop meddling.

"International Olympic Council has suspended Kuwait because of government interference there and I hope we learn some lesson from that," Malhotra said.

Malhotra said the Ministry provides grant and they should stick to that only.

"We are fine with audits, for we have to ensure transparency in financial transaction, no question about that.

I feel NSFs should be under Right To Information act as well. But giving recognition is simply not Ministry's business," he added.

Malhotra criticised Gill for the delay in Commonwealth Games preparation and felt the Ministry bungled in dealing with national hockey players who had to be paid out of a strike.

"The guilty has become the accuser. Gill is everywhere, posing for the lensmen, issuing statements after statements, claiming all the credit. He is right when he says things should have been put in place by 2007 but then who he wants to blame?" he asked.

"Regarding hockey, we are happy that the players got their due. At the same time, the Ministry gave the impression that it only understands the language of strike and media pressure. They should not have allowed the thing to come to head at all.

"Again the Minister was angry when some shooters went ahead and hired a coach on their own. He told them to be patient. But for how long? They apparently see merit in digging wells after the house has caught fire," Malhotra said.

Malhotra did not spare Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit either and said both the state and central governments were to be blamed for the inordinate delay in putting in place Commonwealth Games structure, leading to staggering cost escalation.

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