Oppn targets PM, Sonia over Kalmadi`s appointment

Last Updated: Tuesday, August 9, 2011 - 23:52

New Delhi: Armed with CAG report, Opposition on Tuesday targeted Prime Minister Manmohan Singh over appointment
of Suresh Kalmadi as CWG Organising Committee chief and
demanded in Parliament that heads should roll besides seeking
a Supreme Court-monitored CBI probe to unravel the truth.



The BJP also sought to rope in UPA Chairperson Sonia
Gandhi, saying Suresh Kalmadi had claimed to have been
appointed as Commonwealth Games Organising Committee (OC)
Chairman after a "series of meetings" with her.



During a spirited debate in both Houses of Parliament, the
Opposition also attacked P Chidambaram, the then Finance
Minister, saying he sanctioned funds despite objections.



Sports Minister Ajay Maken was accused of engaging in
"monumental deception" by the Opposition parties which were
unsparing on Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit as well.
The Congress defended the government, with its members
saying that the NDA government had handed over all rights to
the CWG Games management under the Host City Contract and no
legal action could be taken as it could be challenged only in
the British courts. They also attacked the CAG.



"The matter goes to the Prime Minister`s Office... The
file finally goes to the honourable Prime Minister," said
Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley while
participating in the debate on Maken`s statement of August 2.



Citing documents available with him, he said the then
Sports Minister Sunil Dutt and every officer of the PMO were
against Kalmadi being made the OC chief.



"On December 6,2004, the Prime Minister overruled each one
of them and issued an order appointing Kalmadi as the OC
Chairman and chief of the Executive Board," he said.



Jaitley said Dutt had, in fact, complained to the Prime
Minister that it was decided that he would be the OC Chief but
"minutes were tampered with and the decision to make him the
Chairman was tampered with". After Singh appointed Kalmadi,
the Group of Ministers (GoM) also toed the same line, he said.
"The entire Ministry of Sports, the entire bureaucracy of
the PMO says `this (Kalmadi appointment) can`t be done`. The
Prime Minister overrules each one of them," Jaitley said.



In the Lok Sabha, BJP`s Yashwant Sinha accused Singh of
inaction against Kalmadi despite complaints by then sports
minister Mani Shankar Aiyer and Dutt.



He insisted that nothing prevented the government from
sacking Kalmadi, who anyway was removed from the OC after the
Games were over last October.



Responding to the Congress argument that Kalmadi had been
appointed by NDA government, Sinha took a dig at the ruling
party for disowning the Congress MP after he was imprisoned.



"Who is Suresh Kalmadi? Who gave Kalmadi ticket to contest
elections? Who brought him to the Lok Sabha? And now after
Kalmadi has landed in Tihar Jail, he is being projected as a
BJP man," he said.



Sinha triggered pandemonium by making certain remarks
against Maken in relation to former Jharkhand Chief Minister
Madhu Koda, who is jail undergoing trial in a corruption case.



Koda, who is a member of Lok Sabha, was present in the House.



Basudeb Acharia (CPI-M) and Manish Tewari (Cong) also
spoke in Lok Sabha. In Rajya Sabha, Rashid Alvi (Cong), D Raja
(CPI), Satish Mishra (BSP), Prakash Javadekar (BJP) and Mohan
Singh (SP) spoke.



The debate remained inconclusive in both Houses as they
were adjourned prematurely after uproar by BJP members,
protesting police action on its youth wing workers here.



Seeking to rope in Sonia Gandhi, Sinha quoted a letter
written by PM`s Principal Secretary T K A Nair to contend that
OC was registered as a society in February 2005 with Kalmadi
as head after "series of discussions" with the PMO, UPA
chairperson and the GoM.



In the Rajya Sabha, Jaitley also made similar remarks and
said that Kalmadi had highlighted Gandhi`s role in his
appointment while complaining about interference by the Sports
Ministry.



When Jaitley made these remarks, his party colleagues
resorted to slogan-shouting using certain words against
Gandhi. This triggered an uproar with the Congress members
objecting to the comments, leading to a brief adjournment.



Later, Javadekar said, "Today it has become clear that
Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister were the masters of Kalmadi."



Taking on Home Minister P Chidambaram, Sinha cited a media
report which quoted Aiyer as having said that his objections
to release funds to OC without utilisation certificate for the
earlier amounts were overruled by him in the capacity of
Finance Minister.



Rejecting the government`s argument that it could not do
anything to Kalmadi after he had been appointed OC Chairman,
Sinha said there was nothing in the contract that could have
prevented the government from taking action against him.



Demanding that all documents and files in this regard be
brought before the House, Jaitley said while the effort was to
stop the buck at Kalmadi, responsibility lies both with the
Central and statement governments. "....none of them should be
spared."



He also said if "heads are to roll", heads of the state
(Delhi) government and the Centre must also roll.



Javadekar demanded a Supreme Court-monitored CBI probe
into the issue to unravel the truth.



PTI



First Published: Tuesday, August 9, 2011 - 12:38

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