Top Indian hockey official quits

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A top Indian hockey official has resigned after allegations that he accepted bribes to include a player in the national team.

The hockey federation's secretary general, Kandaswamy Jothikumaran, denies the allegations.

He was secretly filmed by undercover reporters of the Aaj Tak TV station.

Indian hockey - the country's official sport - is still trying to recover after failing for the first time to quality for the Olympic Games.

'Initial expenses'

"Jothikumaran talked to me over phone and informed me that he has resigned and will not be associated with the federation until his name was cleared," the head of the Indian Hockey Federation, Kanwar Pall Gill said.

Aaj Tak broadcast their report on Monday evening. Three reporters posed as businessmen and held talks with Mr Jothikumaran about staging an international tournament. The station says its footage shows him accepting 200,000 rupees ($5,000).

The reporters also asked him to include a player, whose name was not revealed, in the national team.

"I was genuinely under the impression that a proposal for conducting a big tournament was being debated with me," Mr Jothikumaran told reporters.

"At no point of time did I raise anything about selection. The money they allege that I had taken was, in my opinion, to meet the initial expenses for organising the event in India."

Indian sports minister Manohar Singh Gill has called for an urgent investigation into the matter.

The Indian Hockey Federation has come under criticism after the team failed earlier this year to qualify for the Beijing Olympics.

It is due to host the 2010 hockey World Cup but the world hockey governing body has warned that it could lose the tournament unless it improves its preparations for the event.