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Abhay Chautala New IOA President, Lalit Bhanot Secy Gen

Abhay Singh Chautala today took over as the president of the Indian Olympic Association while the tainted Lalit Bhanot became the secretary general after the IOA conducted its controversial elections defying the IOC's directive not to go ahead with the polls.

Chautala and Bhanot were declared elected unopposed in the polls conducted by an Election Commission made up of retired High Court Justices, just a day after the IOC suspensed the national Olympic body.

The world body had yesterday said that the IOA elections will be "null and void" following its suspension.

Just after his election to the high-profile post, Chautala defended the decision to go ahead with the polls despite IOC's directive, saying that the IOA had to abide by the Delhi High Court order.

"We have completed a free and fair election under three eminent retired High Court Justices. I want to re-iterate that we have not done anything wrong by going ahead with the polls. We have to obey the law of the land," he told reporters.

"It was an unanimous decision of the House that we have done anything wrong. The IOA had to bear the brunt of the tussle between the government and the IOC. Now we will explain to the IOC the circumstances under which we had to go ahead with the elections.

"We hope that we will be able to convince the IOC to reconsider the suspension. We will also meet the Sports Minister and the Prime Minster and plead before them to drop the Sports Code which had brought us to this situation. We will work to lift this suspension as soon as possible," he said.

Bhanot, who was jailed and later released on bail for his alleged involvement in the Commonwealth Games corruption scandal, said that he would quit from the post of IOA secretary general if he is proven guilty by the law of the land.

"I have not been proven guilty. I will quit if I am proven guilty by the law of the land," he said.

Emerging story. Watch this space for updates as more details come in
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