New Delhi: With Suresh Kalmadi being at the
centre of the controversy surrounding the Commonwealth Games
scam, the Government on Tuesday sought to blame the previous NDA
regime for his appointment as Organising Committee chairman
and said that nothing could be done later.
Sports Minister Ajay Maken dragged the NDA government in
the wake of reports that the Comptroller and Auditor General
(CAG) had criticised the Prime Minister`s Office (PMO) for
making funds to the tune of Rs 2,000 crore available to
Kalmadi and giving him decisive power for their utilisation
during the CWG.
The reports, quoting the leaked CAG report which is
expected to be tabled in Parliament soon, blamed the PMO for
making Kalmadi the Chairman of the OC even though questions
were raised by the then Sports Minister Sunil Dutt and some
others in the Government.
Suggesting that the current PMO could do nothing
regarding Kalmadi`s appointment, Maken told reporters, "There
were two options. Either to scrap the Commonwealth Games or to
go with the host city contract, which was signed by the NDA
regime in November 2003. There was no third option."
When pointed out that Dutt and another former Sports
Minister Mani Shankar Aiyar had questioned unfettered powers
to Kalmadi, Maken said, "I agree. We all questioned these
things. But they could not have done (anything).
"The option was, either we could have gone back to the
Commonwealth Games (Federation for appointment of new OC) or
we could have decided to scrap the Games. The other option was
to go with the Host City contract signed during the NDA`s
regime. So we were left with no other option."
Maken said the Games management protocol clearly said
that the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) shall form the
"When it (protocol) gave all powers to the IOA to form
the OC, then there was no other option. Second, the Host City
contract...should have been signed by the city government,
Delhi government in this case. It should have been passed by
the city Cabinet, Delhi Cabinet in this case," he said,
questioning why it was passed by the Union Cabinet.
The Minister also questioned why the contract was cleared
by the Union Cabinet in the NDA government and signed by the
then Sports Secretary.
"By the Central government signing at that time, they
left all doors closed for us. Because once it was signed by
the Union government, it was binding on the Union government
which could not have gone back (on it)," Maken said.
He said all Opposition parties "who are making hue and
cry now" were part of the General Assembly of the IOA which
elected Suresh Kalmadi as the chairman of the Organising
"At that time, the General Assembly of the IOA was
constituted by Vijay Kumar Malhotra, Tarlochan Singh, S S
Dhinsa, perhaps Chautala. So all Opposition parties who are
making hue and cry now, they were part of that... they were
members of the General Assembly on November 1, 2004 even
before Suresh Kalmadi was appointed as chairman of OC by
Government of India," the Minister said.
"The IOA General Assembly had passed and recommended that
Suresh Kalmadi should be appointed the OC chairman by all
these people cutting across party lines. So, I think, the BJP
or the NDA should first look at their own record. It was
decided during their time," he said.
Maken said the CAG report is not officially out and he
does not know what exactly it says.
"I am sure all these things would be debated in the PAC
(Public Accounts Committee). After all, the PAC is the forum
where all these things have to be debated. Once we are going
to bring all these things to the notice of the PAC, I think
everyone will understand and this is something which (is) the
matter on record," he said.
"Let Mr Verma (the then Sports Minister Vikram Verma)
come and say on record why the Host City contract was signed
by the Union Government at that time...cleared by the Union
Cabinet at that time. Why the state government was not allowed
at that time," the Minister said.