More cases may be filed in Games investigations

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Old 30-Sep-2011
More cases may be filed in Games investigations

New Delhi: A 12-day sporting event, Rs280.5 billion (Dh22.4 billion) expenditure, 100 times cost escalation, 15 cases registered, 200 people questioned, 25 arrests, including of the top man. The skeletons of the 19th Commonwealth Games (CWG) have not stopped tumbling out of the closet, with India's premier probe agency saying more cases were likely to be registered.

Investigations into the conduct of India's biggest sporting event began just 10 days after it ended in the capital October 13, 2010.

While India finally pulled off the event with aplomb, the run-up was widely criticised for shoddy infrastructure that crumbled in the face of heavy rains, missed deadlines coupled with allegations of irregularities worth millions.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), which is probing the irregularities, has arrested former Organising Committee (OC) chairman Suresh Kalmadi.

"The agency is still investigating and a few more cases will be registered," CBI spokesperson Dharini Mishra said.

A top CBI official said, "We are waiting for a report from the home ministry before filing a fresh FIR relating to construction of the Games Village."

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh set up a high-level panel headed by V.K. Shunglu, a former Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG), to look into the irregularities.

The two-member Shunglu panel in its six reports indicted Kalmadi for running the OC "like a club" with little accountability, besides Delhi Lieutenant Governor Tejender Khanna, suspended Prasar Bharati CEO B.S. Lalli, Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit and various government agencies.

India's official auditor, the CAG, also looked into the irregularities, putting the cost of the event at Rs280.5 billion, nearly 100 times more than the original figure of Rs2.9 billion.

In its 743-page report, spread over 33 chapters, the CAG severely indicted Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's Office and the Sheila Dikshit government for deep flaws and financial losses in the conduct of the Games.

It said while the PMO erred in appointing Kalmadi as OC chief, the city government's delays in decision making cost the national exchequer heavily.

It alleged discrepancies in projects related to streetscaping, street lighting, procuring low-floor buses, construction of bus shelters and the broadcasting services contract, among others.

In April, the CBI arrested Kalmadi and various OC officials for alleged financial irregularities.

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