“I have every right to attend the Olympics. As president of the Asian Athletics Federation, I have been invited by the International Amateur Athletics Federation (IAAF), of which I am also a council member. I am still the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) president,” Kalmadi told reporters here on Saturday.
“No charge has been proven against me, how can I be called corrupt?” Kalmadi said a day after a special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court cleared his London visit.
The CBI court ruling did not go down well with Sports Minister Ajay Maken, who said the tainted sports administrator should not go to London unless he was cleared of charges in connection with the 2010 Commonwealth Games.
Reacting to Maken’s comments, Kalmadi said the sports ministry was running a vilification campaign against him.
“The sports ministry is vilifying me. I feel Maken’s opposition to my trip is unbecoming. He doesn’t know the facts and I request our Prime Minister to ask for Maken’s resignation for making such comments and statements.”
“In fact, he is making statements against all national sports federations. He just has a habit of talking,” said Kalmadi, who is out on bail after spending nine months in Delhi’s Tihar Jail.
Sports minister hits back
Maken, however, declined to comment on Kalmadi’s allegation of carrying out a vilification campaign against him. “I would not like to respond to a person who has been chargesheetd by the CBI and suspended by the Congress party on corruption charges,” Maken said. “I still stand by my statement that he should not go to the Olympics as he still remains the president of the IOA and is yet to be cleared of the charges of corruption pending in the courts,” he stated.