Won`t take corruption responsibility: Kalmadi

Last Updated: Aug 07, 2010, 09:36 AM IST

Zeenews Bureau

New Delhi: Coming out in his defence for the first time after the sleaze in the Commonwealth Games organizing committee came to the fore, OC chief Suresh Kalmadi said that there was not question of quitting as he had done nothing wrong.

Talking to a news channel, Kalmadi sought to clear his stand on the AM Films controversy, saying that Sanjay Mohindroo and Darbari were entrusted with the task of handling the QBR ceremony last year and that he knew nothing about the authenticity of any e-mail exchange that took place between Mohindroo and Ashish Patel.

A furore had erupted after reports emerged of alleged discrepancies in the awarding of contracts for acquiring various services for the games and inflating the prices of essential commodities.

News channel reports had shown how Sanjay Mohindroo, a member of the organizing committee had sent a mail to Ashish Patel, owner of AM Films, the provider of services during last year’s Queen’s Baton Relay ceremony, asking him to quote a whopping amount of 450 pounds for each cab. Such cabs are otherwise available for not more than 150 pounds per day.

Organising Committee`s Joint Director General T S
Darbari, who oversaw the QBR`s London leg, was suspended after
the furore and the IOA chief said there is a possibility that
he was misled by his close aide.

"I asked Darbari to show me the e-mails and he showed me
those e-mails. It could be that I was misled. I am not a
technocrat to know if they were genuine. The (probe) committee
will look into all this and tell," he said.

"The Ministry gave me a different e-mail. I said I am not
a technological expert. They didn`t mention doctored or
forged. They just said one line is different. Whether they
were forged, we would know only after the inquiry," Kalmadi
said.

Kalmadi, nonetheless, defended Darbari insisting that the
tainted official had worked well while in office.

"Darbari has a lot of business to take care of but he has
done his job. He is an efficient officer. He has been very
helpful," he said.

"I trust all my officials. I have got 2,000 people
working for me and I trust all of them. It was a tough
decision to suspend," he said.

On why Darbari was kept on board in OC despite a tainted
past, including a customs case, Kalmadi said he was sent on
leave when the case initially came out but was taken back
after he gave in writing that he was merely a witness in the
matter.

"He was not suspended, he went on leave. He went for the
inquiry and came back with a letter saying that he was called
as a witness and nothing more than that. So he was taken
back," he reasoned.

But Kalmadi said he would not protect Darbari him if he
is found guilty in the QBR financial irregularities case.

"If I see some financial irregularities, I am not going
to protect one person. There is no letter which states that
Darbari is a culprit in that (customs case). There is an
inquiry going on and the moment the inquiry is over, I will
tell you," he said.

Asked persistently why he was not taking the moral
responsibility for the corruption charges, inclduing the ones
levelled in a Central Vigilance Commission report, Kalmadi
reckoned he could not be expected to own up for mistakes
committed by others.

"I have 2000 people working under me, I don`t see all the
papers. Matters go to the Executive Board, where four officers
from the government sit. Every single paisa has been passed by
such committees," he explained.

"If I am involved then I would see. Once the Games are
over CWGOC would be disbanded anyway so no question of me
stepping aside," he said.

Later in the evening at a press briefing where he unveiled medals, Kalmadi said he would not quit.

All India tennis Association chief Anil Khanna stepped
down from the post of OC treasurer after his name cropped up
in a controversy over the contracts awarded to a company in
which his son is an employee.

Asked if he was willing to take such moral responsibility
and step aside, Kalmadi said, "Anil Khanna can afford to
resign but I as chairman of CWGOC cannot. These Games are my
baby, I have made promises to the Commonwealth Games
Federation. I would have a tough time explaining to them that
the Games are in trouble when I step down."

"I have got 34 functional areas to look after which is a
mammoth task," he added.

He said his first priority was to make a success of the
Games and "will not run away from responsibility" but would
quit after the event if anything was found against him.

"If my leaders and IOA don`t want me there, then I am
ready to quit. If there is something so big that I have done
wrong. But I tell you there is no wrong. Let the inquiry
report come out. There is nothing to be ashamed of," Kalmadi
said.

He was asked if he would step down now in the wake of a
spate of allegations of corruption in giving contracts and
Kalmadi said instead of stepping aside, he would take action
against those who are found guilty.

"If some action is (found to be) wrong, then definitely I
will not spare anyone who is responsible for it...There is no
charge against me, it is against somebody else," he said.