CWG mess: Kalmadi tells Dikshit to focus on corruption in her departments

first_imgMuck-raking over alleged corruption in organising the Commonwealth Games (CWG) resulted in a face-off between the Games organising committee chairman Suresh Kalmadi and Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit. A seemingly edgy Kalmadi, who bore the brunt of the public battering for the mess in the run-up to the Games, hit back at Dikshit with a vengeance on Sunday.Suresh KalmadiPulling no punches, he suggested that she should focus on “corruption in her own departments”. Kalmadi drew attention to the state government’s large CWG budget and said this must be probed. The Games organising committee (OC) could not be made a scapegoat and his “patience” should not be seen as a sign of guilt.The Games chief’s sharp attack came a day after the chief minister had said that “suspicion (of corruption) was very much on the OC”. She had said that Kalmadi failed to win the people’s confidence. But a combative Kalmadi, a veteran Congressman and MP from Pune, refused to be the fall guy – even though the portents did not look good for him after snubs by the Prime Minister and Congress president Sonia Gandhi.He said the role of Dikshit’s government should fall within the purview of the multipronged high-level probe ordered by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Friday. Describing Dikshit’s comments casting aspersions on the OC as “most disappointing and uncalled for”, he said the V.K. Shunglu probe committee’s investigation should also include all Games-related work undertaken by the state government.Kalmadi’s contention was that while the OC had been assigned a budget of `1,620 crore, the scope of work undertaken by the Delhi government was almost 10 times the amount at `16,000 crore. “It is not right to deflect and point fingers at others when she (Dikshit) must indulge in self-reflection on corruption in her own departments?.advertisementThe OC was constantly being criticised for delays and shoddy work when we were not at all involved in any construction activity,” he said. “Despite a series of attacks in the run-up to the Games, I was quiet as I wanted the Games to succeed. Keeping quiet should not be interpreted as a sign of weakness. Nor should patience be seen as a sign of guilt.It was more important to focus on the task of conducting the Games well,” he said. Kalmadi, evidently, was not ready to be projected as the fount of all that went awry with the Games, while allowing Dikshit to score points with a role that was much larger since it related to building infrastructure for the extravaganza.Kalmadi’s attack on Dikshit came soon after he met urban development minister S. Jaipal Reddy, apparently to prepare for Monday’s meeting of the group of ministers (GoM) set up to oversee the CWG preparations. The OC chief said according to the “institutional arrangement” laid down for the Games, the sports infrastructure would be funded by the government and developed by government agencies, and the state government would develop, upgrade and improve the city infrastructure with support from the Centre.The OC’s responsibility would be the conduct and delivery of the Games. The trading of charges by the two senior Congress leaders was received with a mix of shock and amusement by the party. Sources in the Congress said Dikshit and Kalmadi should have waited for the Shunglu committee’s findings instead of “washing dirty linen in public”.A senior party leader said: “We have taken serious note of it. No amount of public posturing will bail them out if they are guilty and if they are innocent, their names will be cleared.” Kalmadi claimed that the Games had succeeded because of the efforts of “Team India”, including a large number of people and agencies and not any individual.”Mrs Dikshit’s attempt to take credit for getting the Games Village ready in time does not fit with the team concept. The L-G and the OC, who were preparing the Village for over two years, coordinated the work of a number of agencies to ensure that it was ready to welcome the athletes,” he said, in an apparent bid to play up the differences that have allegedly cropped up between Dikshit and Delhi lieutenant governor Tejendra Khanna.The government is toying with the idea of assigning part of the investigations to parliamentary panels like the Public Accounts Committee and Estimates Committee since the charges of financial irregularities directly impinge on the public exchequer. The GoM on Monday is expected to discuss the loan money of over `1,600 crore spent by the OC.advertisementThere have been several allegations of overspending against the OC, which are also being looked into by the investigating agencies. According to the original agreement, the OC was to return the loan. But, it has insisted on making the CWG revenue neutral as earnings were not sufficient. The revenue to the OC was to come primarily through the sponsors, broadcasting rights and sale of tickets.Allegations of corruption and shoddy work had affected sponsorship and ticket sales.Investigations beginThe Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) has directed all agencies associated with the 2010 Commonwealth Games to submit their explanations regarding alleged irregularities in projects by the end of October. A consolidated report will then be handed over to the committee formed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. The CPWD, MCD, DDA and PWD are still to furnish their explanations.New CVC P.J. Thomas has now sought point-wise replies to its queries. The CAG will start audit work pertaining to the Commonwealth Games Village from October 28. The IT department, too, has initiated a full-fledged probe into CWG irregularities.last_img