New Delhi: Clouds of corruption grew darker over the upcoming Commonwealth Games 2010 in Delhi as the Enforcement Directorate (ED) stepped-up investigations on money paid by CWG organisers to an Australian company, Sports Marketing and Management (SMAM), and Switzerland-based Event Knowledge Services (EKS).
The two firms are under suspicion of money laundering after a similar incident with a UK firm AM Films.
The Australian firm SMAM had been paid a 15% cut on an estimated sponsorship of USD 30 million, for the Youth Games in Pune. This was after the fact that almost all the money had been generated from Indian PSUs, including BSNL and SAIL. The sole private sponsor was Coca-Cola.
In the time of Delhi Games, the Australian firm was to get up to 23% commission from revenue being generated from PSUs such as the Railways (Rs 100 crore), Central Bank, NTPC and Air India all pledging Rs 50 crore each.
However as per the OC’s contract with SMAM, even though Air India has promised sponsorship in kind by way of providing air tickets equivalent to the pledged amount, the OC on its part will pay the Oz firm all the commission in cash.
EKS has hired Ernst & Young in India to deliver on its obligations to the CWG. As per the contract, its services were to be available only till April 1, 2010 — a good six months before the Games are to begin.
No Commonwealth officials are ready to give an explanation to this involvement of foreign firms and money laundering.