Sonia steps in, new officials to oversee CWG works

Breaking her silence on alleged corruption in the Commonwealth Games, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi said that those found guilty would be punished.

Zeenews Bureau

New Delhi: Breaking her silence for the first time on the alleged corruption in the preparation for Delhi Commonwealth Games, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi on Thursday said that those found guilty would be punished after the events conclude.

“The Prime Minister is looking into the allegations of corruption related to the CWG events. Those found guilty would be punished after the games are over.”

The Congress chief made these remarks while addressing a meeting of the Congress Parliamentary Party (CPP) in the national capital.

Sonia Gandhi came down heavily on the pressure mounted by a united Opposition over the alleged irregularities in the CWG events.
“The Commonwealth Games belong to the whole nation. They are not related to a particular party. It is the collective responsibility of the whole nation to make Games a success. It is a matter of national pride and efforts should be made to host the games successfully.”

Later in the day, in a sweeping move that virtually clipped the wings of Games Organizing Committee chief Suresh Kalmadi, the government named 11 top bureaucrats to oversee all the agencies involved in the preparations.

The officials, drawn from various government departments and ministries, "will ensure completion of various assignments in Games venues allocated to them", a statement from the Prime Minister`s Office (PMO) said.

The Congress chief’s remarks are seen as a clear snub to IOA chief Suresh Kalmadi, who has pleaded innocence and denied the allegations of corruption levelled against the CWG Organising Committee headed by him.

Kalmadi, however, was defiant, saying his wings had not been clipped.

"The government has appointed these officers to coordinate as per the organising committee`s request," he said at the same press conference.

The newly-named bureaucrats have been told to resolve problems of coordination between multiple agencies and have also given the power to take decisions on the spot "in order to tie up any loose ends".

They will be on deputation to their new assignments till Sep 15.

"Decisions taken by these officers would have to be complied with by the executing agencies (at) the venue level," the PMO statement said.

The officers drawn for the gigantic task include Subodh Kumar, S.R. Rao, R.C. Mishra, Amarjeet Singh, J.S. Deepak, Rohit Nandan, Shashi Shekar, Taradatt, Gopal Krishna, Rajeev Kapoor and Injeti Srinivas.

Srinivas, joint secretary in the ministry of sports, will look after issues of media accreditation.

The officers would first discuss with the sports secretary if the decisions they take have financial implications, the statement said.

According to informed sources, Deepak will be in charge of the sprawling Commonwealth Games village coming up on the banks of the Yamuna river.

The Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, which will host the opening and closing ceremonies, will be overseen by S.R. Rao.

Earlier Thursday, Fennel met Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit for about 30 minutes to discuss issues related to the Games and infrastructure development.

Fennel had Wednesday inspected various stadiums in the city.

The Commonwealth Games -- India`s biggest sporting event after the 1982 Asian Games -- will see participation from 53 countries.

Allegations of corruption and delays as well as various infrastructure problems have cast a shadow on the preparations, forcing the government to intervene.

-Agencies inputs

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