The controversies surrounding India’s Asian Games contingent never seem to end. Now, it has been reported that India’s Chef de Mission Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh will reach Indonesia three days late because of Panchayat by-polls in Uttar Pradesh, according to a report in The Indian Express.
The Asian Games Village in Jakarta is set to be officially be opened on August 11 and as the athletes arrive, it is the Chef de Mission’s responsibility to register the entire contingent in the system. The delegate registration meetings are scheduled for August 11, 12 and 13, continued the report.
However, Singh will leave India only on August 14 as he has to attend his political party’s meeting over the weekend before heading to Jakarta. “I have to attend an election meeting in Meerut so I will leave for Jakarta on August 14,” Singh was quoted as saying by the newspaper.
In his absence, the meetings at the Games village will be attended by his deputy Rajkumar Sacheti, whose presence in the Indian contingent was questioned by the Sports Ministry because of his alleged involvement in a corruption case. The Indian Olympic Association on Friday decided to send Singh and Sacheti to the Asian Games at its own expense.
The IOA had named Wrestling Federation of India chief Singh as the chef de mission, with his four deputies being Sacheti, Colonel Satyavrat Sheoran, Balbir Singh Kushwaha and Dev Kumar Singh. The Sports Ministry had then expressed its unhappiness at Boxing Federation of India’s Executive Director Sacheti’s inclusion as the Chief Vigilance Commissioner had recommended registering a disproportionate assets case against him in 2013 in the wake of the 2010 Commonwealth Games corruption scandal.
Sacheti had worked as the joint director-general in the 2010 Commonwealth Games organising committee and was one of the aides of former IOA President Suresh Kalmadi, who was jailed and then released on bail.
The IOA, however, refused to budge from its decision and said that it will send the Chef de Mission and his four deputies, besides seven other office staff, at its own cost. The Olympic body has submitted to the Sports Ministry a list of 202 officials from various federations, whose athletes are taking part in the Asian Games for clearance.
Singh will be leaving Jakarta early, on the day of the closing ceremony. “There’s a lot of political work because of the Lok Sabha elections so it’s difficult to stay back there for the closing ceremony. I will be away for 15 days anyway so I have put a system in place for that duration,” he told the daily.