New Delhi: Sports Minister Ajay Maken has accused former minister Mani Shanker Aiyar of playing an "irreparable obstructionist role" in the Commonwealth Games projects resulting in cost escalation.
These comments were made by Maken in his report sought by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh after media highlighted letters by Aiyar wherein he had warned about the squandering of money by the Suresh Kalmadi chaired Organising Committee.
The communication now made public under the RTI Act shows that Maken has strongly criticised Aiyar, saying "Aiyer, as minister in-charge for about two years ironically played an irreparable obstructionist role that led to inordinate delays resulting in huge cost and time over runs."
"Even as Shri Aiyer kept presenting a rosy picture to the PM about the progress in infrastructure preparedness, he actually did everything to hinder and obstruct work which eventually led to delays and huge cost escalations," Maken wrote in his letter dated July 08, 2011.
On Aiyer`s claims that he forewarned the PM about cost escalations in the conduct of the Games, Maken says that they "not only does the stand subject to factual verification, but also appears frivolous”.
"Even as he wrote about increased financial sanctions to the OC, Aiyer as Minister in-charge approved duly the Cabinet note giving Rs 767 crore to the OC," Maken said.
On the cost escalation in infrastructure projects, Maken said Aiyer did an "extremely dichotomous, contradictory and self-indicting job of dealing with them." Maken in his report said, Aiyer chose not to operationalise the "apex committee" that was supposed to lord over the OC even after holding three of its meetings, decisions taken by which were duly adhered to.
The Sports Minister also said "facts" behind appointment and continuation of Kalmadi as chairman of Organising Committee clearly state that he owed his position in the OC "singularly to a favourable clique" of the Sports Minister and Sports Secretary during the NDA regime in 2003.
The documents provided to activist SC Agrawal reveal that Maken said, "in expressing his inability to head the OC through a communication to you, Shri Aiyer displayed gross irresponsibility of a shirker rather than a leader who could take charge and deliver."
Aiyer, in a series of letters to the Prime Minister, had complained about various issues related to Commonwealth Games highlighting that the OC was "squandering" money by appointing consultants with cost of up to USD 5,000 per day and providing a Rs two crore farm house and to Commonwealth Games Federation CEO Mike Hooper during his stay in India.
He had said that unlike the 1982 Asian Games Special Organising Committee which had "powerful public-minded representatives" such as Rajiv Gandhi, the present Organising Committee was "packed with yes men (and a few yes - women)".
Aiyer said OC chairman had "dictatorial powers" as there was "no one of influence to press for an alternative option”.
After these letters came into public domain, the PM had sought a report from the Sports Ministry about them.