Kalmadi claims innocence as CBI raids his house, office

CBI raided CWG OC chief`s premises in Delhi, Mumbai & Pune, months after the sporting extravaganza ended.

Last Updated: Dec 25, 2010, 00:15 AM IST

New Delhi/Pune: The CBI on Friday raided
Commonwealth Games Organising Committee Chairman Suresh
Kalmadi`s homes and offices in Delhi, Mumbai and Pune, two
months after the sporting extravaganza ended amid allegations
of financial wrongdoings in awarding of some contracts.

Over 40 CBI sleuths swooped down on the premises of
66-year-old Kalmadi, a senior Congress leader and a Lok Sabha
MP, in the three cities at around 7 AM to conduct simultaneous
searches which lasted for eight hours. The raids were part of
the agency`s probe which has already led to arrest of three of
his colleagues.
Today`s raids by CBI marked the first searches of
bealeaguered Kalmadi`s properties in the aftermath of the CWG
scam.

Besides Kalmadi, the premises of his personal secretary
Manoj Bhure in Pune were also searched by the CBI. Kalmadi`s
farm house at Khadakwasla near Pune and the "Sai Service"
petrol station owned by him in Pune were among his properties
searched.

Kalmadi, who has been at the centre of a controversy in
awarding contracts for the 11-day sporting event in the first
fortnight of October, was also questioned about some documents
during the searches, official sources said. He resigned as
Congress Parliamentary Party(CPP) Secretary recently.

Immediately after the searches, the CBI called his close
aide Shekhar for questioning to the agency headquarters, the
sources said.

"CBI today carried out search of the office and
residences of the Chairman of the OC of CWG 2010 and his
personal secretary in Delhi, Pune and Mumbai as part of the
ongoing investigation into the allegation of award of video
installation work for the Queen`s Baton Relay to a
London-based private firm at inflated rates," Bineeta Thakur,
CBI DIG and Spokesperson, told reporters in New Delhi.

Several documents recovered during searches are being
scrutinised.
Kalmadi was likely to be called to the CBI headquarters
for questioning once the agency obtains the forensic analysis
of computers and laptops, the sources said.

After the searches, Kalmadi, a former IAF pilot, tried
to put up a brave face telling reporters outside his
residence, "I have not taken any decision alone. All decisions
have been taken by the Executive Board".

As he faced a volley of questions, Kalmadi said, "I am
innocent till proven guilty. You (media) are all pronouncing
me guilty". Kalamdi also said he had assured complete
cooperation to the CBI.

Kalmadi said CBI teams had also searched his brother`s
place in Mumbai.

The CBI move comes days after it was reported that some
of the crucial documents, which could throw light on the Games
deals, have gone missing with the probe agencies fearing that
they could have been destroyed or hidden.

CBI sources had said that the key files, which contain
important information on tendering, budgetary allocation and
contract details, are missing from the (OC) office.

However, Kalmadi said the documents could be lying with
some other investigating agency and if the CBI lists out the
missing document he and his team would trace them.

His wife Meera was inside the "Kalmadi House" located
off the arterial Karve road in West Pune during the course of
the searches by a eight-member team that caused a flutter in
the city which the high profile MP represents in Parliament.

The agency has so far filed three FIRs in connection
with the alleged irregularities in CWG and searched the
residences of OC Director General V K Verma and Bhanot on
November 30.

While one case is related to a Rs 107-crore deal struck
with a Swiss score keeping firm, the agency had registered two
other FIRs in connection with the contract given to AM Films
for the Baton Relay ceremonies by the OC in London.

The CBI had arrested OC`s Joint Director General T.S.
Darbari, Deputy Director General Sanjay Mohindroo and former
treasurer Jayachandran for their alleged complicity in these
deals.

PTI