CWG mess: Kalmadi aides sacked, ED steps in

Three aides of Suresh Kalmadi have been removed from OC and ED will now probe corruption charges. Oz company SMAM`s contract has been terminated.

Zeenews Bureau

New Delhi: Engulfed in a spate of corruption
allegations, the Commonwealth Games Organising Committee today
finally cracked the whip by suspending a close Suresh Kalmadi
aide T S Darbari and two other tainted high-ranked officers in
a desperate bid to restore its credibility.

On a day of swift action, CGOC treasurer Anil Khanna, too, resigned in the wake of allegations that his son`s firm secured the contract for laying synthetic courts at the R.K. Khanna Tennis Stadium, one of the venues for the Oct 3-14 Games.
Former Hockey India (HI) president A.K. Mattoo, who was the treasurer before Khanna, will take up the job again with the Games less that two months away.

In another important decision, the CGOC executive board decided to terminate the contract of Australian company Sports Marketing and Management (SMAM), which was looking after the sponsorship deal for the Games, on grounds of "non-performance".

The decisions were taken by the OC`s all-powerful
Executive Board which met for an emergency meeting where the
report of its three-member probe panel led by CEO Jarnail
Singh was read out.

Lalit Bhanot, the secretary general of CGOC, put up a brave front while declaring the decisions of the executive board, which met here Wednesday, in front of a crowded press conference and said there is no threat to the mega-event.

Launching the clean-up operation, the OC decided to
suspend Joint Director General T S Darbari, Deputy Director
General Sanjay Mohindroo and M Jaychandran, Joint Director
General (Accounts and Finance) for their alleged role in the
Queen`s Baton Relay in London.

"We have suspended these officials as they were
responsible for the delivery and conduct of the Queen`s Baton
relay in London. We are handing over the case to the
Enforcement Directorate for further investigation," said.

"The probe committee met and submitted their report. The executive board has decided to suspend T.S. Darbari, Sanjay Mahendroo and M. Jayachandaran. Though Mahendroo is not on our rolls anymore, we will refer all the names to the Enforcement Directorate to further investigate it," said Bhanot.

Bhanot said that the executive board also decided to terminate the contract of Sports Marketing and Management (SMAM), the Australian company, on the basis of "non-performance".

"The chairman of the CGOC formed a three member committee especially in regards to the queen`s baton relay, overlays and SMAM. We have decided to terminate the contract with SMAM. We could not take this decision earlier because of our legal advisory. We have terminated them on the basis of -performance. They had a target of $122 million to meet by 30th June, and they failed in their commitment," said Bhanot.

"Not a single paisa has been paid to SMAM though there were few commitments. There is no failure on the part of OC. Whoever is involved will be punished," he said.

On the issue of overlays, Bhanot said: "The overlay was discussed. The Central Vigilance Committee (CVC) will look into the quality and the quantity of the overlays. The overlays need to be matched with the stadiums. These things are not provided with the venue owners. On all overlays, we are writing to the cabinet secretary to look into the matter."

Asked if CGOC chairman Suresh Kalmadi should also resign taking the blame, Bhanot said: "There are more than 1,500 people in this organisation with so many sections. The senior management is not controlling all departments. It is very difficult to put the blame on one person. We need to deliver a successful games."

Bhanot said that the three-member panel probing the
allegations of financial irregularities had submitted its
report to the OC Chairman and the Executive Board discussed
their recommendations.

Under-fire Chairman Kalmadi, who has been facing the heat
in the wake of the corruption scandals and isolated within his
party, skipped the press conference leaving Bhanot and Mattoo
to face the media.

On the overlays procurement issues which had also come
under the scanner, Bhanot said, "We have asked the government
to give some people to verify the quality and quantity of work
related to CWG."

"We have written to CVC to look into it. CPWD has agreed
to give some people to verify the products. Overlays need to
match the stadiums. The Games venues are world class and we
need world class overlays," he said.

Bhanot said the OC was open to any enquiry by any
government agency.

"We are open to any query. And any agency of the
government can investigate. But we have to deliver the Games
and I am sure we will deliver it. Everybody will proud of the
Games," he said.

Asked about the e-mail waved to the media by Kalmadi in
the last press conference which was reportedly doctored, he
said, "When Kalmadi came to address the media we checked with
the concerned people who sent the mail and they had proved the
authenticity of the e-mails. After that Kalmadi met you
people. It is very difficult to disbelieve people working with
you. If they say it is correct we believe in it."

-Agencies inputs

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