Dictation transcription- The chairmanship of the Commonwealth Games Organising Committee held in 2010 in Delhi was handed over to then chief of the Indian Olympic Association Suresh Kalmadi by the Prime Minister’s Office despite objections by former Sports Ministers Sunil Dutt and Mani Shankar Aiyar, says a Comptroller and Auditor-General report.
The report is now being taken up by Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee headed by the then Food Minister in the United Progressive Alliance government, K.V. Thomas. In the report, accessed by The Hindu, the CAG says “the bid document of May 2003 envisaged the Organising Committee (OC) as a government- owned society, with the chairman of the OC a government appointee, and the IOA president only an Executive Board vice-president.”
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But the OC was ultimately set up in February 2005 as a non-government society with Mr. Kalmadi as chairman, the report said.
The decision was taken, it said, by the PMO in December 2004 despite “serious objections by then Sports Minister Sunil Dutt” as it had “turned the OC into a body outside the government’s control, without commensurate accountability to the government and concomitant controls”.
“Attempts in 2007 by Shri Mani Shankar Aiyar and late Sports Secretary Shri S. K. Arora with the PMO, the Group of Ministers and the Cabinet Secretariat highlighting the ineffective position of the Ministry in exercising control over the OC were met with strong resistance from the chairman and were thus rendered unfruitful,” the document goes on to say.
The CAG report places this at the centre of not just the shortcomings of the planning process but also the shockingly little revenue that the Games managed to garner as well as the irregularities in award of contracts.
“The total projected revenue by the OC was Rs. 682.06 crore, while revenue realised was a mere Rs. 173.96 crore,” the report says.
“Both the Sports Ministry and the Ministry of Finance failed to exercise due diligence and did not seriously challenge the OC’s claim of revenue neutrality,” the report says.
The CAG’s findings cast a shadow on the complicity of the then PMO in the acts of omission and commission in organising the CWG-2010. The OC was responsible for large-scale tampering with processes of awarding contracts from item-wise basis to a venue-cluster approach based on geographical locations. This cluster-based approach, according to the CAG, was used to discourage competition by restricting the number of vendors.