Kalmadi writes to MPs, defends himself

New Delhi: In a bid to clear his name from any possible corruption taint, Commonwealth Games Organising Committee Chairman Suresh Kalmadi wrote a letter to Congress MPs ahead of the debate in Parliament, denying any financial irregularities in conducting the Queen’s Baton Relay.

Kalmadi said in the letter that although CWG Executive Board had approved Rs 13.13 crore for the Baton launching ceremony, the OC incurred an expense of Rs 5.75 crore only and that he was “open to scrutiny by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) or any judicial enquiry”.

“We had planned an elaborate function, but with a view to cut costs we scaled down the size of the function and decided to engage only local artists rather than fly them from India. We floated a global tender for the programme and appointed M/s Jack Morton Worldwide as event managers for the launch,” he wrote in the letter.

Kalmadi, the Congress MP from Pune, said that video screens were installed at the venue of the launch in London only after the city police had insisted for that.

“London police was insisting that video screens be installed at the venue to help crowd control but OC kept resisting that.

“After a meeting in London with the metro council on October 23, 2009, (suspended Deputy DG) Mr Sanjay Mohindroo reported that London police insisted that the video screens be installed or else the launch may not take place.

“When I reached London on October 24, he gave me a hand written note, in which he mentioned that video screens were required and a payment of approximately Rs 1.2 crore needed to be cleared immediately. I asked him if it was budgeted and approved for. He said it was cleared and within budget. Then I made a noting on the handwritten note ‘So late. We have no choice’,” the letter said.

“It was only an in-principle clearance. I have not signed on the invoice,” he added.

Kalmadi, also chief of the Indian Olympic Association, denied entering into any contract with the company AM Cars and Vans for the programme held at Buckingham Palace.

“Sanjay Mohindroo faxed the same note to Delhi office of the OC for processing. Payment was released after due processing, and by all concerned, including the certificate from a Chartered Accountant, through a bank transfer. This was within clearance from RBI for payments in foreign exchange,” he said.

“As for there being a link between this payment and so called present contract/contracts between AM Cars and Vans and Sanjay Mohindroo, no official had lodged a copy of that contract with the OC. We are unaware of the existence of such contract,” Kalmadi said.

Kalmadi also circulated to the MPs a six-page note which clarified the costs for different aspects of the preparation for the October 3-14 sporting extravaganza, OC sources said.

Giving all the break-ups of the preparation costs, the OC sough support from all the political parties to make the Games a success.

“We seek you co-operation and best wishes in making the Games a success,” the note said.

The OC has already appointed a three-member committee headed by Jarnail Singh to look into the allegations and three high-rank officials had been suspended.

On Monday the OC terminated the service of Joint Director General T S Darbari, a close aide of Kalmadi.


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