New Delhi:Former captain Pargat Singh on Sunday launched a scathing attack on Suresh Kalmadi, calling him a "sports mafia" who is trying to become the Hockey India chief by hook or crook even though the IOA president rubbished the allegation.
Pargat, the Hockey Punjab secretary, also blasted Hockey India for deferring its February 7 election in the wake of a Rajasthan High Court order and alleged Kalmadi was "up to something sinister".
He went to the extent of saying that the situation was better in the era of KPS Gill, who headed the erstwhile Indian Hockey Federation.
Kalmadi, on his part, rubbished the allegations, saying it was Pargat's "figment of imagination".
"I'm not connected with Hockey India, I have the Commonwealth Games to look after and so I'm not getting into all those things," Kalmadi said.
"It's all his figment of imagination, I have nothing to say about that," the IOA chief said.
Earlier, Pargat made a stinging attack on Kalmadi, blaming him for postponing Hockey India election on purpose.
"Kalmadi and his men got scared after he failed to get nomination from Maharashtra despite putting so much of pressure on the Maharashtra Hockey Association and that's why they deferred the election," Pargat alleged.
"They cited the Rajasthan High Court order as the reasons but all they should have done was to submit an application to vacate the stay and go ahead with the election," Pargat, also Punjab's Sports Director, said.
"It's because of such sports mafia that players go to the extent of revolting against the federation," he said.
Referring to Hockey Punjab's tussle with HI to get affiliation, Pargat said people close to Kalmadi tried to negotiate a deal with him.
"I would call them Kalmadi's lackeys who came to me and said in no unclear terms that Hockey Punjab would get affiliation as soon as we agree to support Kalmadi for the president's post. I said we are just not interested in any sort of trade-off and they made me make round of their office for 10 days before eventually recognising us," Pargat alleged.
Blaming Kalmadi for the recent hockey players' revolt, Pargat said, "No players fancies a situation like a revolt but when you don't get the parental touch from the federation, you probably have no other way. Kalmadi has messed up Indian hockey and is playing dirty games."
"People like him don't even bother about the country's image. Even if the World Cup is shifted out of the country, they would not bat an eyelid," Pargat said.
"I would say things were better even in the KPS Gill era," he said.
The former India captain said Kalmadi was in fact using some of the former players as his 'pawns' and was playing games.
"Under Kalmadi's leadership, a huge mess has been created and even the government letters had no effects on him," Pargat said.
Kalmadi, however, dismissed all allegations hurled at him and blamed the dissident groups of throwing in legal spanners to impede Hockey India's election.
"It's them who have moved the court and not us (which led to postponement of the election). And if I wanted, I could have been the president of the Maharashtra Hockey Association," Kalmadi said.