Wednesday, April 23, 2008


NEW DELHI, April 22 (Bernama) -- Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) secretary K. Jothikumaran resigned after a television news channel's sting operation allegedly exposed him as accepting money to include a player for the Azlan Shah Cup tournament in May.

Jothikumaran, who had helmed the post for the past 14 years, stepped down late Monday after the channel aired damaging clips of the secretary and its reporters, who disguised as businessmen, negotiating a deal to include the unknown player.

The Times of India reported that the channel had showed the secretary demanding RM40,000 (Rs500,000) to ensure the player would be selected for the national team participating in the Azlan Shah Cup.

It was reported that he had received nearly RM15,000 (Rs200,000) as initial payment at a hotel in Delhi on April 10 and 11, and assured that the player would be included in the line-up for the Kuala Lumpur tournament.

According to the Times report, the local channel's investigative team had also approached Jothikumaran to organise a hockey tournament, similar to Azlan Shah Cup. For that, he had demanded about RM40,000 (Rs500,000) as seed money.

Responding to the scandal, IHF chief K.P.S Gill said Jothikumaran would be sacked and replaced by a new secretary immediately.

"We will remove him. We are now looking to appoint someone as the acting secretary. Somebody who can stoop to such a level and disgrace the game need not continue," he told the Times.

However, Jothikumaran denied all the allegations and said he only accepted the cash to organise an international tournament in India, but the news channel had projected him as corrupt.

The Indian hockey fraternity had been calling for total revamp of IHF after India failed to qualify for the Beijing Olympics in August -- for the first time in 80 years, India failed to qualify for the Olympics men's hockey.

With this latest scandal hitting the headlines in India, Indian hockey is once again in choppy waters.

IHF is expected to announce the final squad for the Azlan Shah Cup today.