Aiyar wanted sports ministry out of OC Funding



New Delhi: Not happy with the attitude of sacked Commonwealth Games OC chairman Suresh Kalmadi, then Sports Minister Mani Shanker Aiyar had sought to relieve his ministry from channelling funds for the sporting extravaganza.

On December 5, 2007, Aiyar had written to then Finance Minister P Chidambaram that the Sports Ministry was "rarely" getting information about the fund utilisation by the Organising Committee from it.

"Our letter (to OC)...asked for some requirements remains unanswered. But the chairman, OC seems to have given some information to you directly on their funds requirement which has led you to advise use to release the balance of Rs 70.21 crore in five monthly instalments during the remaining part of the financial year. The Ministry of Finance's letter of November 21, 2007 also does not enlighten us on the basis of these monthly releases," Aiyar wrote to Chidambaram.

In the letter made public under the RTI Act, Aiyar wrote that the 0C chairman continuously highlighted the fact that the government was giving merely a loan to the OC which they are obliged to return with interest.

"And therefore Chairman OC insists that the funds should be released to him as per annual phasing approved by the Cabinet with no further questions asked," Aiyar said.

In the letter accessed by activist S C Agrawal, Aiyar requested the then finance minister to consider the "possibility of relieving" his ministry from releasing balance of loan amount saying "the finance ministry is much better placed than we are to monitor compliance with General Finance Rules and other financial prudence norms."

"It seems our following the GFRs and other financial prudence norms is leading to acrimony and making our position rather invidious. After all as Chairman OC puts it, it is a loan to OC, repayable with interest. The quantum is Rs 767 crore and the OC is an asset-less organisation," he said.

PTI