New Delhi: Mani Shankar Aiyar has hit back at Sports Minister Ajay Maken for accusing him of playing a part in the cost escalation of Commonwealth Games projects and also questioned the authenticity of the letter he had written to the Prime Minister in which he made the allegations.
Aiyar, a former sports minister, said Maken was not qualified enough to write such a letter to the Prime Minister.
"Firstly, we have to establish the authenticity of this letter. It contains words like `dichotomous` which I cannot believe that a BA Pass from Hansraj College would know," he said.
"So, is this really a letter written by him or somebody else cooked it up. So, I have written a letter to Mr Maken yesterday to either certify the authenticity of the newspaper reports or to send me an authentic copy of the letter, because frankly the letter that he has written doesn`t seem to either fit in with the character of the man I know," Aiyar said in an interview.
He said Sports Secretary Sindhushree Khullar was much more educated than Maken and doubted the handiwork of outside people in the drafting of the letter.
"I don`t believe the authenticity of the letters that have been released to the press because there are such big words used in them that unless Mr Maken had a thesaurus by his side, I don`t believe that he wrote those letters," Aiyar reiterated.
"His secretary Sindhushree Khullar, unlike Mr Maken is in fact a very highly educated young lady, so it will be interesting to discover -- a) whether such a letter was ever written b) whether it was authentic and c) whether it was drafted by Mr Maken himself or whether he was given some assistance either from his own ministry or some other arm of the govt of India in preparing that letter," he added.
Maken, in his report sought by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, had accused Aiyar of playing an "irreparable obstructionist role" in the Commonwealth Games projects, which led to cost escalation.
The communication now made public under the RTI Act shows that Maken has strongly criticised Aiyar, saying "Aiyar, 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."