Former India hockey captain Pargat Singh on Wednesday launched a scathing attack on Indian Olympic Association president Suresh Kalmadi, accusing him of preventing athletes from joining National Sports Federations.
Pargat, who is the secretary of Hockey Punjab, said Kalmadi's style of functioning is in violation of the Olympic Charter.
"Kalmadi is the president of the Indian Olympic Association but does not abide by the charter of International Olympic Committee himself. He implements only those policies and guidelines that suit him and avoids other," Pargat fumed on the eve of the International Olympic Day in Delhi.
He blamed state-level sports federations, headed by politicians, for the sorry state of affairs and criticised the bodies for not roping in athletes to manage their functioning.
"The people heading the sports federations have no idea how to operate a federation and even after playing for 20 years, players are not invited to be a part of organizational set-up," he said.
Speaking at the launch of 'Clean Sports India', a society claiming to create awareness about problems in Indian sport, Pargat along with television actor Tom Alter and other former national players like Bhugeshwar Boruah, Sunita Godara and Reeth Abraham, lamented the dominance of politicians in sports bodies.
Boruah, an Arjuna award winning former athlete, accused the general secretary of the Commonwealth Games Organising Committee, Lalit Bhanot, of ruining Indian athletics.
"Bhanot destroyed Indian athletics. It has been 25 years since Bhanot came to power, and Indian athletics is nowhere."
BVP Rao, a former IAS officer and another member of the civil society, called Himanta Biswa Sarma, Minister of Health and Family Welfare of Assam, as an "upcoming Kalmadi".
Rao alleged that Sarma and Rockybul Hussain, Forest and Tourism Minister of Assam, together occupy 25 per cent of Assam sports. All the main positions of the sports federations in Assam are occupied by politicians, he added.
Reeth Abraham, an Arjuna award winning athlete, called Kalmadi a nobody. She said, "Kalmadi is nothing without sports. Nobody knows him as a politician."
Echoing Abraham's views, Pargat said every player has the right to become a member of the sports federation of the district he is representing. "Nobody can prevent it," he added.