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IOC threatens action against defiant Indian officials

By Sudipto Ganguly

MUMBAI (Reuters) - The International Olympic Committee has asked its recognized Indian members to contemplate taking legal action against officials of the country's suspended Olympic association for misrepresenting the office.

The IOC refused to recognize the results of Indian Olympic Association (IOA) elections held on December 5 due to government interference which led to a tainted official being named as its new secretary general.

Lalit Bhanot, who spent 11 months in custody last year following corruption charges and is on bail pending further investigations, was given the senior IOA post despite the IOC deeming the elections "null and void".

Local media reported that Bhanot has been corresponding with national sports federations using the IOA letterhead, further riling the world governing body.

In a letter sent to Randhir Singh, secretary general of the IOA during the previous regime, the IOC has threatened action against "illegitimate individuals" who claim to represent the suspended Indian body.

"These illegal actions which obviously violate all IOC directives and decisions are aggravating the situation of the suspended Indian Olympic Association," IOC director general Christophe De Kepper wrote.

"All individuals involved (directly or by complicity) will be held responsible and the IOC will reserve the right to take any action against them.

"We request that you take all necessary measures and, if appropriate, any legal action at national level against these individuals in order to protect all assets and properties of the suspended Indian Olympic Association."

(Editing by John O'Brien)

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