New Delhi: The government on Tuesday appeared to trash the Comptroller and Auditor General’s (CAG) report on Commonwealth Games scam, excerpts of which appeared in the media today.
Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office, V Narayanaswamy told reporters that the CAG only has a limited role to play, i.e. to look into the accounting matters and it cannot question policy decisions made by the government.
Media reports indicated the CAG has faulted the PMO for allowing Suresh Kalmadi to have a free run as chairman of the CWG Organising Committee and misuse funds to the tune of hundreds of crores.
Narayanaswamy said the CAG report, which has yet to be submitted before the Parliament, doesn’t have the mandate to question the PMO.
“CAG report is not sanctum sanctorum… till Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee scrutinizes it,” the MoS said.
Meanwhile, Sports Minister Ajay Maken, in a suo moto statement in Parliament, blamed the NDA government for nominating Kalmadi.
Reports, Tuesday, claimed that the CAG has found fault with the PMO for allowing Kalmadi to gain full control of the OC and thus having a major say in its spending of nearly Rs 2000 crores, which was allotted to it for the mega sporting event.
The CAG further states that the Kalmadi-led OC not only disbursed the money in an unfair manner to the contractors but also influenced the execution of various projects related to the Games since they were all approved by his panel.
The corruption-tainted sporting czar, who is now lodged in jail, is facing criticism for the irregularities committed by the OC and his subordinates which includes shoddy construction of various projects, inflating costs and rigged tendering.
To drive home its point, the CAG report cites the declaration made by Kalmadi in his capacity as the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) chief to the Commonwealth Games Federation in 2003 in which he was only supposed to be the vice-chairman of the OC.
The bid submitted by the IOA said the executive board of the OC would be headed by a chairman nominated by the government. This arrangement was in accordance with the way in which the previous Commonwealth Games were held in Melbourne, with the government of Australia in charge.
Subsequently, a Group of Ministers (GoM) decided to appoint the Union Minister of Sports and Youth Affairs as the head of the OC on October 25, 2004.
In its report, the CAG refers to late Sunil Dutt, who was the Sports Minister then and according to whom the Prime Minister was part of the GoM, which took the decision. However, ironically, the decision was later changed and Kalmadi was made the OC chief. The decision taken by the GoM perturbed Dutt, who wrote a letter to PM and asked the matter to be rectified.