Kalmadi says ready for probe as more scandals surface

Suresh Kalmadi on Wednesday said that he is ready to face any probe into financial transactions even as fresh scandals hit the mega-event.

New Delhi: Rattled by increasing allegations
of corruption in the Commonwealth Games and isolated within
his own party, under-fire OC chairman Suresh Kalmadi on Wednesday
said that he is ready to face any probe into financial
transactions even as fresh scandals hit the mega-event.

Even as the three-member probe panel continued its
investigations into the allegations, the Organising Committee
found itself on a sticky wicket as it came to light that one
of its key officials had asked the UK-based company to inflate
the taxi hiring rates.

Televisions channels produced an email purportedly
written by Dr Sanjay Mohindroo, OC`s Deputy Director General
who has now resigned, asking Ashish Patel, the owner of AM
Films which is at the centre of controversy, to inflate the
taxi hire rates. Patel, has however denied any wrongdoings.

The day unfolded with Kalmadi willing to face a CAG or
judical probe while the OC called a press conference later in
the day to vehemently deny any irregularities in procuring
overlays for the stadiums.

"I, as Chairman of the Organising Committee, am prepared
to face any scrutiny by (Comptroller and Auditor General) CAG
or even a judicial probe for all financial transactions being
reported by the media. All the people found guilty will be
punished and brought to book," Kalmadi said in a statement.

Kalmadi`s statement came a day after more allegations of
irregularities and the Indian High Commission`s e-mails being
`doctored` came to light. The Congress party also distanced
itself from Pune MP.

Kalmadi reiterated that the all transactions were carried
out by the full approval of the OC`s various finance committee
and he did not have any individual say on these matters.

"The financial procedures at the Organising Committee are
well laid down and transparent. Any proposal that is prepared
by the Functional Area Head first gets vetted by the OC
Finance Committee which has two representatives of Government
of India, and after that it is referred to Finance
Sub-Committee, comprising of three Senior representatives of
Government of India," he explained.

"Thereafter, the proposals are submitted to the Executive
Board for its final approval. Chairman OC, in his individual
capacity, does not have any financial powers," he added.

Kalmadi said, nonetheless, he has taken note of the
various reported bunglings.

"I have taken a serious note of these reports and
appointed a three member committee headed by Mr. Jarnail
Singh, the Chief Executive Officer and two members, Mr. G. C.
Chaturvedi, Special Director General and Ms. Gurjot Kaur Chief
Vigilance Officer of Organising Committee to look into all the
details of QBR Launch Function, Overlays and SMAM issues. The
Committee has been asked to submit its report by August 5,
2010," the statement read.

Mohindroo`s purported email to Patel brought more
embarassement for OC, just a day before its Executive Board
meets for an emergency meeting.

As per the e-mail, Mohindroo had asked Patel to fix the
hire rates at 450 pounds per day, an amount which was said to
be 300 pounds more than the usual rate.

The unsavoury develoments in India has left the
Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) very concerned.

"Federation is really concerned about the allegations and
the matter needs very urgent and immediate attention by the
Indian authorities. The allegations have led to such level of
corruption that has breached all the rules of how you procure
and how you handle the matter," CGF President Mike Fennell

"That`s why we need to resolve this speedily. We can`t
allow it to hang over the Games and affect the organisation of
the Games therefore such allegations neds to be handled
speedily and with full transperancy," he added.

Political parties continued to mount pressure on the
government on the Commonwealth Games fiasco, asking for a
full-fledged probe into the alleged scandals.

BJP leader Venkaiah Naidu said OC`s three-member panel
was an "eye wash" the Sports Ministry and the Delhi Government
were equally responsible for the scams. He wanted the prime
Minister to make a statement in Parliament.

With controversy deepening, Congress party also virtually
backtracked from its remarks giving a clean chit to two Union
Ministers and the Delhi Chief Minister and distancing itself
from IOA chief Suresh Kalmadi.

"We have neither given any clean chit nor any unclean
chit to anybody. We are neither holding any brief for anybody
nor indicting anybody," party spokesperson Manish Tewari said.

Tewari`s comments were significant as they were at
variance with those of his colleague Shakeel Ahmed, who had
told the party briefing yesterday that the integrity of two
Union ministers M S Gill and S Jaipal Reddy, who are looking
after Games-related works, is "beyond any doubt" while Delhi
CM Shiela Dikshit "is also of very impeccable integrity".

He had also said Congress MP Suresh Kalmadi is not there
as a party representative but as the Chairman of the Indian
Olympic Association. "Serious charges have been levelled
against the Commonwealth Games Organising Committee....As the
Chairman, he will reply to them," Ahmed had said.

Meanwhile, the Australian company, which was hired to
raise sponsorship for the Games, said it would "forego"
commission from the contribution made by Indian PSUs and
denied getting any payment for its services so far.

According to reports, Melbourne-based Sports Marketing
and Management`s (SMAM) contract with the OC is under
investigation by the Enforcement Directorate for payments
worth millions of dollars but the company said the reports
were "baseless and unfounded".


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