New Delhi: In view of complaints against the CWG Organising Committee headed by Suresh Kalmadi, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was open to an idea of restructuring it in 2007, but it did not materialise as no concrete proposal came forth.
Sports Minister Ajay Maken suggested this as he insisted that nothing could be done about Kalmadi because he had been elected OC chairman by the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) and the UPA government was bound by the Host City Agreement (HCC) signed by the previous NDA government with the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF).
Maken disagreed with the observations of the CAG that the decision to appoint Kalmadi as the OC chairman facilitated conversion of the originally envisaged government-owned OC into a body outside government control.
"There was a contract between the government of India and others and the Commonwealth Games Federation which mandated that the Games would be conducted by the OC set up by the IOA," he said, referring to the HCC of November 13, 2003.
He noted that Mani Shankar Aiyar had written a letter to the PMO on October 23, 2007 and to the Prime Minister two days later. The then Sports Secretary SK Arora also wrote a letter to PMO on the issue of OC.
"These three letters raised concern about inadequacy of government presence in the Executive Board of the OC, financial profligacy and inadequate compliance with procedure in OC," he said.
Three reform options were suggested by the Sports Minister (Aiyar) and Sports Secretary (Arora) -- (A) the OC would raise its own funding from the banks, (B) the OC could be given a clear signal to amend its Memorandum of Association and the financial and administrative guidelines to vest decision-making in the Executive Board, (C) to direct the OC to broadbase the Executive Board on the lines of the 1982 Asian Games, Maken said.
Aiyar also suggested appointment of a minister of state for international sporting events to be designated as the chairman of the Organising Committee.
"The Prime Minister discussed the suggestions of the Sports Minister (Aiyar) with the Cabinet Secretary, who in turn discussed them with both the Sports Minister and the Sports Secretary," Maken said.
Aiyar and Arora agreed to "develop the idea of change in the institutional structure further and bring the matter for consideration of the GoM" which was overseeing preparations for the CWG, he said.
Aiyar participated in the meetings of the GoM, but the changes proposed in the institutional linkage could not materialise into concrete proposals of the Sports Ministry before the GoM, Maken said.
The suggestion, therefore, that no action was taken on the reform proposals of the sports minister is not correct. The Sports Ministry was asked to get back with concrete proposals of restructuring.
"However, for various reasons, including the constant monitoring of the multifarious tasks and projects, major restructuring of the OC and its linkage with the Ministry of Sports could not be taken up," he said. The OC had been set up as per the Host City Agreement signed on November 13, 2003 between the central government, Delhi government, IOA and the CGF.
Under the Agreement, IOA had to establish an OC, which "shall have legal status and shall delegate the organisation of the Games to the OC, which shall work in conjunction with its CGA (IOA), and shall be jointly and severally responsible with the CGA (IOA) for all commitments including financial commitments in regard to the organisation and staging of the Games."
According to it, the IOA would, in accordance with the "Constitution and with the approval of the CGF, delegate the organisation of the Games to the OC, which, while working in partnership with the IOA, will also be directly responsible to the CGF."
The Agreement further stated, "The IOA acknowledges that, as a body affiliated to the CGF under Article 11, it is bound by the CGF documents and subscribes to and supports the Vision, the Mission and the Code of Conduct.”
"The OC, the government and the Host City agree to be bound by the CGF Documents and to support the Vision, the Mission and the Code of Conduct."
The Agreement also said that "... the Games are the exclusive property of the CGF and that the CGF owns all rights concerning the organisation, exploitation, broadcasting and reproduction by any means, whatsoever, of the Games and is entitled to assign or licence all or any of those rights in whole or in part at its own discretion."