'If the charges against Rajeev Mehta are true, he has to be punished. It should not be the case that you get caught for wrongdoing and is then rescued (by the government). If they had nabbed the wrong person they should apologise,' RTI appellant Raju Gusain added.
New Delhi: Indian Olympic Association (IOA) secretary general Rajeev Mehta seems to be in big trouble. Following an RTI petition by Dehradun-based journalist Raju Gusain, the central information commission on Monday directed the sports ministry to reveal within 21 days, all details of Mehta's arrest during the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
Mehta had reportedly travelled to Glasgow not as part of the Indian contingent, but only in his official capacity, and is one of the most controversial figures in Indian sports.
BREAKING: Trouble for Indian Olympic Association Secretary Rajeev Mehta. Ghost of Commonwealth Games-2014 to haunt him. Central Information Commission ask Sports Ministry to provide report of his arrest during Scotland games within 21 days. @TheRahulMehra @Ra_THORe pic.twitter.com/FqVDzzL0Cl— Raju Gusain (@rajugusain) October 9, 2018
Mehta was subsequently released without any trial, due to the lack of evidence, but the real reason for the arrest is still shrouded in mystery, with drink driving being one of the several theories doing the rounds. None of the authorities involved, be it the Scotland police, IOA, or the Indian government, were willing to part with any significant information.
That is where Gusain came into the picture. He decided to get to the bottom of the case and what he learnt was something sensational.
"Mehta was rescued through diplomatic channels," Gusain said in an exclusive interview to MyNation.
"I filed an RTI with the ministry of external affairs. I got a reply from the consulate general of India in Edinburgh that if the report of the arrest is passed on to me, the relationship between the two countries will be harmed. However, they had marked a copy to the ministry of youth affairs and sports too. The ministry also refused to furnish the report. There ought to have been an internal inquiry at least against an accused. He was saved and brought home, which emboldened him," Gusain said.
The consulate general in Edinburgh replied to Gusain on June 5, 2015 that "no reasons were communicated by any authority of the United Kingdom to consulate general of India for detention of Mr Rajeev Mehta".
The Scotland police had refused to provide any detail about Mehta's arrest, saying that under Scottish law, it can only be provided to the person in question — Mehta in this case.
During the proceedings before central information commissioner Sridhar Acharyulu on Sunday, CPIO of the sports ministry, AK Patro submitted that the information regarding Mehta's 2014 arrest in Glasgow was not available as they only maintained the list of sportspersons selected by the ministry to represent India in international events, and Mehta's name doesn't figure in that list.
The CPIO submitted that the sports ministry was "not in a position to confirm the capacity in which Mr Rajeev Mehta attended the event".
"The CPIO said I was asking for a four-year-old report and that they had searched their almirahs, but did not find any record of Mehta's arrest. But the fact of the matter is, they had refused to furnish the report four years ago as well," said Gusain.
"If the charges are true, he has to be punished. It should not be the case that you get caught for wrongdoing and is then rescued (by the government). If they had nabbed the wrong person they should apologise," Gusain added.
Mehta is no stranger to controversy. He had been probed over the misuse of Rs 15 lakh given by the Uttarakhand government in early 2000 when he was the president of the State Olympic Association (SOA). According to RTI activist Deepak Azad, Mehta had transferred Rs 11 lakh out of those Rs 15 lakh to his wife's account.
MyNation tried to contact Mehta for a reaction, but his mobile number was not reachable. The service to the two telephone numbers listed on the IOA website has apparently been withdrawn, and hence the IOA could also not be reached.
With the CIC tightening the screws on the sports ministry, skeletons may soon tumble out of Mehta and the sports ministry's closets. Perhaps more embarrassment is in store for the nation.
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Last Updated Oct 9, 2018, 8:19 PM IST