Probe Dow`s procurement process: Gardiner

Last Updated: Dec 14, 2011, 21:57 PM IST

London: Labour Friends of India chairman, Barry Gardiner, on Wednesday backed IOA`s campaign to remove Dow Chemicals as one of the sponsors of next year`s London Olympics and asked for a thorough investigation into the procurement process of the company.

India has protested the involvement of Dow Chemicals – a company linked with Union Carbide, which had killed thousands in the 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy -- with the London Olympics, and the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) acting president president has said that they will officially speak to the London organisers.

"I understand that today Mr (VK) Malhotra, the acting president of the IOA, has stated that he will be formally requesting LOCOG to end the partnership with Dow Chemicals. That a national Olympic Committee should take such an extraordinary step must prompt Seb Coe to think again and protect the reputation of the London games," Gardiner said.

Gardiner has written to John Whittingdale MP, Chairman of the Culture Media and Sport Select Committee, requesting an urgent enquiry into the procurement process which led to Dow being granted the Olympic wrap tender.

Evidence has emerged that LOCOG may have misled MPs and the public over the savings from the Dow deal. It has also become clear that Dow posed a serious reputational risk to the London 2012 Games, despite claims by LOCOG.

In further development, a potential rival bidder to Dow has written to Gardiner to express their concerns that the procurement process may not have been carried out on a transparent and open manner.

"A simple Google search would have revealed numerous other cases that showed that Dow could only be a significant reputational risk to the London 2012 Games," Gardiner said.

"It now appears that the saving of 7 million pound which LOCOG attributed to Dow`s sponsorship are little more than 1.5 million pounds. They need to explain why Parliament and the public were misled in this way.

Gardiner said he has "received complaints from other companies who were involved in the tendering process, which call into question whether it was genuinely open and transparent.

"I have bought these to the attention of the Chairman of the Select Committee and requested that his committee now conducts a thorough investigation into the procurement process," he added.

The IOA General Body Meeting will be held tomorrow and on Friday to take a decision on how to make it known to the London Olympic organisers the protest of the Indian people, and Malhotra today demanded the company be removed as one of the sponsors of London Games.

Victims of the disaster, as well as Indian Olympians and officials, have been pressuring 2012 Olympic organisers to drop Dow as a sponsor.

PTI