More on the Indian Hockey Secretary Expose From Indian Newspapers
Chennai, April 21: Indian Hockey Association secretary K. Jothikumaran tried to put up a brave face before resigning from his post. A private news channel caught him accepting a bribe from people involved in a sting operation over the conduct of an international tournament.
Jothikumaran also included a 16-year-old in the national squad for next month’s Sultan Azlan Shah tournament at the insistence of the TV sting team. It’s reliably learnt that the player concerned was Lalit Upadhyay from Varanasi.
Jothikumaran told this newspaper a few minutes before his resignation that he was denying the TV channel’s allegations. "My conversation with a group of businessmen was only about an international tournament they had proposed to sponsor. I didn’t accept money for any player’s inclusion in the national team. One cannot mix both. I hadn’t given any assurance to them about the player’s place in the team," he added.
When asked whether the IHF secretary could accept cash from tournament sponsors, Jothikumaran said he would reply in detail on Tuesday. It is, however, all over for one of the key administrators of Indian hockey for close to a decade and a half.
PTI adds: Soon after the news channel beamed the sting operation Jothikumaran called up IHF president K.P.S. Gill and informed him that he had resigned from the post which he had occupied for close to 15 years.
The channel said in a release that its Special Investigation Team found that the selection process in hockey was not "always fair, the current administration is highly corrupt and that IHF president Gill is oblivious of the corrupt practices of his colleagues."
The channel claimed that after receiving a cash payment of Rs 2 lakh and taking a promise of another Rs 3 lakh to be given to his man in Delhi, Jothikumaran assured the channel’s team of getting a player picked up for the senior hockey team for the Azlan Shah hockey tournament next month.
It claimed that the bribe money was given to him in a five star hotel in Delhi in two instalments on April 10 and 11.
The Asian Age
NEW DELHI, April 21: Indian Hockey Federation secretary K Jothikumaran’s luck has finally run out. For years, the grapevine had buzzed with talk of shady deals involving him. Now, the man who held the second most powerful post in Indian hockey for 14 years has been exposed by a news channel's sting operation showing him taking money to get a player selected for the Azlan Shah Cup to be held at Kuala Lumpur in May. This is a fresh blow to the 'national game' that's already struggling to stay alive in the country.
Jothikumaran resigned late on Monday night after the damning evidence was aired on television. Not that he had much choice. IHF chief K P S Gill had categorically stated after the sting that Jothikumaran would be sacked.
"We will remove him. We are now looking to appoint someone as the acting secretary tomorrow itself. Somebody who can stoop to such a level and disgrace the game need not continue," Gill told TOI after the channel showed the Chennai-based secretary demanding Rs 5 lakh for ensuring the selection of a player in the national team. The team for the Azlan Shah Cup was to be picked on Tuesday, Gill said.
According to the sting transcript, Jothikumaran received cash payment of Rs 2 lakh in a Delhi hotel on April 10 and 11 and was promised that the rest would be delivered to his man in the capital. "A few days after receiving the money, Jothikumaran told us the player's name had been included in the list of probables for Azlan Shah Cup to be sent to the ministry this week," the transcript said.
"Jothikumaran assured us that as far he was concerned the player was in, and it was now just a matter of formality. The special investigation team did not know this player at all. Just to make the entire investigation look real, they used the name of this player as he was part of the recently held camp at Bangalore and was not included in the team for the ongoing tour of Australia," the transcript added.
IHF president KPS gill was non-committal when asked whether IHF would start any probe against the secretary. "They have shown him taking money. What can I say to that? Probes, inquiries are different things. We have to look into the seriousness of the allegations," he said.
The channel also said when its investigative team approached Jothikumaran as a business house that wanted to organize an international tournament, "Jothikumaran asked for Rs 5 lakh in the name of seed money to facilitate the event. Out of this he demanded Rs 3 lakh in cash and the rest in the name of a front company working for him in Delhi," the channel said.
The latest development has come as a fresh blow for a game that's already struggling to stay alive in the country.
Reacting to the expose, former India captain Pargat Singh said it was a shocking revelation. "We have been hearing about it for a long time. This is a shocking thing to have happened. He should be immediately sacked and a criminal case should be lodged against him," he told TOI.
Meanwhile, Jothikumaran told an agency - "I was genuinely under the impression that a proposal for conducting a big tournament on the lines of Azlan Shah tournament was being debated with me by the reporters of the news channel. At no point of time did I raise anything about selection.
"The money they allege that I had taken was in my opinion to meet the initial expenses for organising the event in India on the same lines of Azlan shah tournament."
The Times of India