Gururaja Poojary may have been the first lifter and athlete to win a medal at the ongoing Commonwealth Games but there seems to be some legal tussle regarding the prize money that he was promised by the Karnataka Minister of State for Youth Affairs and Sports. The Election Commission has found the gesture by the Minister to be in violation of the model code of conduct.
Pramod Madhwaraj, the minister in question, had earlier been quoted by the media as announcing the cash reward to the amount of Rs 25 lakh which came along with the promise of a job for the weightlifter. This offer came in lieu of Poojary’s Silver medal winning performance at the Commonwealth Games. Post his medal, stories of his hardships and poverty had been doing the rounds for quite some time. The announcement by Madhwaraj was then greeted positively.
Later on, however, Deputy Commissioner Priyanka Mary Francis said here on Sunday that Mr. Madhwaraj’s statement had been carried by some newspapers and Kannada news channels which caused the violation.
‘In this case, it is a violation because Gururaja becomes the new beneficiary of a benefit stated in the government’s policy,” Priyanka was quoted as saying by The New Indian Express.
With the State elections in the offing, this may have been perceived by some as an inducement for votes, something which was clearly pointed out by Priyanka Mary Francis.
“I have gathered information from the Assistant Director of Sports and Youth Affairs Department that order that promises a government job and `25 lakh cash award to an achiever in the sports was passed through a new sports policy on March 14, but that order is not published in the Official Gazette yet.”
“So in this case, it amounts to inducement to voters,” Priyanka Mary Francis clarified.A case is registered under section 123 (2) of RP Act, 171 (f) read with 171 (b) and (c) and 188 of IPC against the minister,” she added.