Jiji Thomson quits as SAI DG, slams government for injustice
New Delhi: Sports Authority of India boss Jiji Thomson has quit with immediate effect citing injustice by the Government over his promotion and the IAS officer says his departure comes at an inopportune time with the Rio Olympics scheduled in mid 2016.
Thomson, a 1980 batch IAS officer who took charge of SAI in March 2013, claimed the central government dilly-dallied on his “promised” promotion as Sports Secretary for six months before he finally requested for immediate repatriation to his parent cadre in Kerala on Tuesday. He is expected to take over as Chief Secretary of Kerala on January 31.
“I waited for six months and I have decided no more wastage of time. Despite repeated assurances from the government, nothing happened. May be because I have no patrons in the government. The situation required me to stay in the role at least till the Olympics,” an upset Thomson told PTI today.
“What sort of governance is this? If someone is there at the helm of affairs, he should be given adequate time, at least three if not five years, to implement long-term plans.” he said.
“The Olympics are one year six months away and this time a change of guard at the helm of affairs will surely be injurious, whether it is me or someone else,” said the outgoing SAI Director General, adding that Sports Minister Sarbananda Sonowal tried his best to facilitate his promotion but was not able to do so.
Though Thomson swiftly dealt with issues at SAI more often than not, it is suspected that a pending court case against him in Kerala went against him in his promotion.
He was one of the many accused in the palmolein oil import scam dating back to 1991 when he was a director at the Kerala State Civil Supplies Corporation. The first accused in the case was former Kerala Chief Minister K. Karunakaran.
“I got an order from the Kerala High Court in July. The court clearly said pendency should not be held against an IAS officer while giving him promotion if he is eligible. It has been 25 years and the Government of India has not even sanctioned the prosecution and the state government also dropped me from the accused list last year,” said Thomson.
Talking about his SAI stint, Thomson lamented the lack of planning in the Indian sports scene.
“The main problem in India is not the lack of infrastructure. You have enough infrastructure all around the country but it is lying unused. You have this beautiful infrastructure created for National Games every four years and it is all lying unused. Therefore is the lack of planning that is hurting India most,” he said.