CAG reports tells in detail how Sonia Gandhi, PM Manmohan singh appointed Suresh Kalmadi ignoring all norms and rules. Arun Jailtey explains in detail how Kalmadi was given free hand in CWG and despite objections from Late Sunil Dutt and Mani Shankar Iyar kalmadi was made Chairman of IOC.
CAG also found Sheila Dixit guilty of deliberate corruption in CWG making it a scam of India.
n a strong indictment of the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), the Comptroller and Auditor General(CAG) said that Suresh Kalmadi was appointed the Commonwealth Games Organising Committee (CWG OC) chairman at its behest.
In its voluminous 743-page report, the CAG said that the PMO recommended Congress MP Kalmadi for OC chairmanship in 2004, despite serious objections from the then sports minister Sunil Dutt.
The PMO’s recommendation facilitated conversion of the originally envisaged government-owned OC into a body outside government control without commensurate accountability and concomitant controls to ensure propriety and transparency despite full financial guarantee and funding from the government.
An unwieldy 400-plus general body of the OC was formed, which was not envisaged in the bid document or the Host City Contract, the report pointed out.Kalmadi was also allowed to run riot by ignoring suggestions for a greater control on the OC’s functioning from another former Union sports minister Mani Shankar Aiyar and former sports secretary S. K. Arora.
Aiyar and Arora’s attempts in 2007 to officially take up the issue of OC’s accountability with the PMO, Group of Ministers and Cabinet Secretariat were resisted by Kalmadi and rendered unfruitful, the report said. The CAG said: “The CWG bid document of May 2003 envisaged the OC as a ‘government-owned registered society’ with the chairman of the OC executive board (EB) being a government appointee and the IOA president being only the EB vice-chairman.”
However, in February 2005, the OC was set up as a ‘non-government registered society’ with the IOA president Suresh Kalmadi as the chairman of the OC’s EB, the report said.
The change to a ‘non-government registered society’ with Kalmadi as OC chairman was orchestrated through a sequence of events commencing with a document titled ‘an updated bid’ of December 2003. This, the CAG said, had no legal sanctity or relevance and indicated a changed structure.The script of the CWG loot seems similar to the 2G spectrum scam. Besides the principal villains, the PMO and the Union finance ministry’s roles have been suspect in both the scams.
The CAG report, which was tabled in Parliament on Friday, described the sequence of events to indict the PMO. On December 6, 2004, the report said, the PMO issued a communication stating that institutional arrangements had been put in place for the conduct of the CWG, catapulting Kalmadi as the OC chairman.
According to the CAG, Manmohan Singh‘s office direction was considered and passed by the third GoM on January 29, 2005. The audit body said that in September 2003 the central and Delhi governments decided to host the CWG and bear its financial liability – a decision which was critical to the success of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) bid for Delhi to host the CWG.
Kalmadi managed to trick the government by converting the OC into a ‘non-government registered society’ in February 2005 so that he could organise the big ticket sporting event in the manner he liked. Prior to that, as per the CAG report, Kalmadi quietly filed an irrelevant and illegal ‘updated bid’ in December 2003 indicating a change in the OC structure.
“This updated bid surfaced only in September 2004, 16 months after the IOA made its bid and 10 months after that bid had already been declared successful,” said the CAG report, pointing to Kalmadi’s ploy.
The government woke up late and decided to rein in Kalmadi- led OC in August 2010, only two months before the Games were to start. But its actions were “largely in the nature of fire-fighting measures”, the highly critical report said.
The report also indicted the ministries of finance and sports for failing to “exercise necessary due diligence and did not adequately examine and scrutinise the revenue projections or raise red flag on the critical issue at the highest levels of government, specially on the quantum jump in revenue projections from Rs 900 cr to Rs 1,780 cr and chose to go along with the OC’s claims of revenue neutrality”. In reality, the total committed revenue was just Rs 682.06 crore out of which the OC could manage only Rs 173.96 cr.
The government also disbanded finance sub- committee of the GoM, which was supposed to clear the Games budget and monitor the spending. This contributed to the piecemeal approach towards cost estimation and budget approval. The Centre was clueless about the cost of hosting the biggest-ever sporting event in the country, the report said.
PM is the common factor
- A. Raja has claimed that the finance ministry, then headed by incumbent home minister P. Chidambaram, as well as PM Manmohan Singh were kept in the loop about the policy decisions, for which he was now being blamed
- The PMO got Suresh Kalmadi appointed as OC chief despite objections. The CAG has blamed the Centre for not setting up a single point of authority and accountability, showing govt failure.