NOC controversy surfaces, again

Lalitpur, January 24

The long-standing controversy of Nepal Olympic Committee surfaced again after the Rukma Shumsher Rana-led faction tried to acquire the NOC building in Lalitpur.

NOC President Jeevan Ram Shrestha said that his committee was legal having the affiliation to the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) and International Olympic Committee (IOC), while Rana-led faction claimed that the property belonged to them after the Supreme Court reinstated the committee five years ago.

The fresh row began after Ministry of Defense wrote to its departments to implement the apex court decision and Rana-led faction tried to seal the NOC building with the help of police.

The Shrestha-led faction held its press conference outside the NOC building after police did not let them go in. “There is only one NOC in Nepal and we have the recognition from OCA and ICC,” said Shrestha. “And as far as the property is concerned, we have not received any notice from any authority to hand over it to anybody. And the building is constructed by the OCA and ICC and not by the government of Nepal,” said Shrestha.

The Rana-led faction arrived at the NOC after Shrestha and his aides entered into the building. They were stopped at the main gate and only few officials were allowed inside the premises. They also held the press conference at the same place. “This building belongs to us as Supreme Court has given us the authority,” said Rana. “The committee led by Shrestha is illegal,” added Rana.

The controversy dates back to the 2007 NOC elections when a couple of officials from Rana-led faction moved the court challenging the change of guard. Dhruba Bahadur Pradhan served as president for two terms before Shrestha defeated Umesh Lal Shrestha to become he NOC president in 2015. Meanwhile, Minister for Youth and Sports Daljit Sripaili invited three members each from both the sides to find a way out through a dialogue at the ministry on Wednesday.