NEW DELHI: An Indian court granted permission Friday to the disgraced head of the 2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games -- currently on bail pending trial on fraud charges -- to attend the Olympic Games in London.
Suresh Kalmadi, who faces charges of conspiracy, forgery and abuse of power, was told he could attend the Games if he provided a bond of one million rupees ($18,000).
The ruling was swiftly denounced by Sports Minister Ajay Maken who insisted the seriousness of the allegations against Kalmadi should preclude his presence at the Olympics in any capacity.
“I don't think he should go unless he is cleared of all charges. He himself should volunteer not to go,” Maken was quoted as saying by the Press Trust of India.
Kalmadi's lawyers had argued he be allowed to attend the London Games as a member of the International Association of Athletics Federation Council and president of the Asian Athletics Association.
Kalmadi, known for his powerful political and sporting connections, was arrested and jailed in April last year for his role in awarding multi-million-dollar contracts for the Delhi Commonwealth Games.
He was freed on bail in January.
Kalmadi headed the organising committee for the Delhi Games, an event supposed to showcase India's status as an emerging power.
Instead, the sporting headlines were stolen by venue delays, shoddy construction and budget overruns in which the cost of the Games tripled to at least $6.0 billion.
India's anti-corruption watchdog, the Central Vigilance Commission, received complaints alleging up to $1.8 billion of Games money was misused.
Kalmadi was subsequently removed from his post as president of the Indian Olympic Association.