On the third and final day of the eighth Commonwealth Karate Championships, held in New Delhi, India, the old wounds of India’s factionalised karate history were opened. Three members of the Karate Association of India (KAI), who organised the event, fled the final venue as police arrived to arrest them on charges of corruption. President R. Thiagarajan, secretary general Bharat Sharma, and former treasurer Altaf Alam are believed to have forged documents and unlawfully taken funds from the Indian Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports as part of the process of getting the KAI recognised by the World Karate Federation (WKF).
The KAI has only existed since 2013, with responsibility for the international representation of Indian karate falling to the All-India Karate-Do Federation (AIKF) since 1860. The AIKF is affiliated with the Indian Olympic Association (IOA), and was founded by the Societies Act of 1860, legitimising the organisation.
Yet in 2013, WKF president Antonio Espinos gave WKF affiliation to the KAI, sixteen days before the KAI was technically founded. While the AIKF struggled to collect enough funds to take the case to the Court for Arbitration in Sport, Espinos appointed Sharma to the executive technical committee of the World Karate Federation, strengthening the ties between the WKF and the KAI.
The WKF has been quiet in response to these allegations, and the wanted status of three high-ranking members, with secretary general Toshihisa Nagura departing for Japan just before the police moved ot arrest the KAI leaders. The whereabouts of the three KAI men remain unknown.
James Patrick Casey – London 2015