Our sportspersons have made India proud at the recently concluded 19th Commonwealth Games-Delhi 2010 with their stupendous performance in various disciplines. All speculations about India’s potential to develop a sports culture and come of age as a sporting nation have been put to rest by the first ever three figure medal tally. The opening as well as the closing ceremony was indeed spectacular and so were the foolproof security arrangements. I congratulate the entire Indian contingent for its outstanding performance and felicitate those who have won medals. I salute all the securities agencies for making the Commonwealth Games a “security milestone” in the face of intelligence reports of threats by some groups to carry out terrorist attacks against the athletes. I also commend the flawless presentations by the performing artistes, school children and all others in making the games events a great success.

But all was not well with the Commonwealth Games-Delhi 2010.

It all looked fine and on track till the bid was won. Then where did we fail and who all nearly let us down? The world community in general and the people of India in particular need to know.

It all looked fine and on track till the bid was won. Then where did we fail and who all nearly let us down? The world community in general and the people of India in particular need to know.

India won the bid in November 2003, and it took 16 months to put the Commonwealth Games Organizing Committee(CGOC) in place and the 35-member committee included Rahul Gandhi,  Kapil Sibal, Jyotiraditya Scindia, Ajay Makan, Jitin Prasad and Sandeep Dikshit.

The first meeting of the Infrastructure Coordination Committee held in Delhi on March 15, 2005 took note of the requirements of venues and their up- gradation and the construction of the Games village giving all the government bodies like the Urban Development Ministry, the DDA, the Delhi Government & other agencies more than five years to accomplish the task without compromising international standards. Their proposals were approved by a group of ministers and later ratified by the union cabinet. The irregularities and bungling in the tendering process of these projects was scandalous involving several thousand crores .

The first story about malpractices and corruption in Commonwealth Games came to light on July 30, 2010 when the UK-based AM Films highlighted the case of payments with no written contract agreement. The CGOC is alleged to have paid AM Films, an Indian-owned firm in London, over 450,000 pounds (over Rs.30 million) for services during last year’s Queen’s Baton Relay inaugural without proper tendering and paperwork.

Corruption was suspected in award of tenders for different projects of the games including the stadia and other infrastructure and granting of contracts in hiring or purchase of equipment such as air conditioners and treadmills and even toilet paper.

The Comptroller and Auditor General of India commented adversely on the cost overruns for the stadium being built or refurbished for the Games.

Stung by corruption charges and allegations of sub-standard infrastructure and inordinate delays made by the BJP leaders in parliament and outside, and amidst adverse media campaign, the central government went into overdrive to assure the participating nations that the stadium will be completed on time for the Oct. 3-14 Commonwealth Games.

A panicky Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) President Mike Fennel rushed to Delhi and said at a press conference that “We (CGF) do not and will not tolerate any corruption.”

Fennel said “reports of corruption should be investigated thoroughly and acted upon as per the law of the land”. Fennel met Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit to voice his concern over the issues related to the Games and infrastructure development.

But things did not improve. An under construction footbridge just outside the main venue Jawaharlal Nehru stadium collapsed, 27 people were injured and a false ceiling at the weightlifting arena caved in. It was left to the armed forces to salvage the situation.

All this infuriated the Supreme Court to remark that the Commonwealth Games projects have bred corruption and that it cannot shut its eyes on the “rampant corruption “and criticized the Indian government on its preparations for the international sporting event.

There are numerous allegations of bungling and irregularity in the tendering process for all games contracts which need to be looked into.

Senior BJP leaders including Smt. Sushma Swaraj, Shri Arun Jaitley, Shri Kirti Azad, Shri Navjot Singh Sidhu & Shri Anurag Thakur have been raising these issues in both houses of parliament. Senior BJP leader, Shri Vijay Kumar Malhotra, party general secretary, Shri Vijay Goel and Delhi BJP chief, Shri Vijender Gupta and the BJP Sports Cell Convener Shri Mahinder Lal have led the BJP’s campaign against the games scandals in Delhi.

All these BJP leaders and Secretary, Sheri Kirit Somiaya have worked relentlessly to marshal all the facts and figures about the games mismanagement and prepared a

along with a voluminous annexure highlighting the callousness and total apathy and insensitivity of the government agencies and sports bodies in unabashedly wasting the tax payers money which resulted in the  games budget initially billed at Rs. 2000 Crores going  up to a whopping Rs. 70,000 crores.

The Prime Minister’s Office has instituted an inquiry to be conducted by the former CAG Shri V. K. Shunglu. Several government agencies like the Enforcement Directorate, the CVC, the CAG, the CBI, the Revenue Intelligence and other outfits are also engaged in their respective investigations into specific charges of corruption, irregularities and malpractices etc.

Now the Commonwealth Games dirty linen is sought to be washed in public by Sheila Dikshit, Suresh Kalmadi & others, with Kalmadi demanding probe not only into the CGOC Rs. 1,620 Crore budget but also into the Rs. 16,000 Crore budget of the Delhi Government.

The BJP strongly believes that all these inquiries and investigations must be expedited to reach some logical conclusions at the earliest so that the guilty could be punished without any further delay.

In view of the multiplicity of the agencies involved in this task, we demand that a high-power coordination committee headed by the cabinet secretary should be set up to ensure an effective and concerted effort to unearth the scandals.

All these investigations must reveal the extent and magnitude of the corruption in different deals and the role of the agencies involved therein for which those found guilty must be taken to task as per the law of the land.

The BJP will extend full cooperation to all the investigating agencies and make them available the information gathered by its leaders to facilitate an impartial and meaningful inquiry into all allegations of corruption and bungling.

But at the same time, I strongly feel that there is an urgent need to pin point accountability on those who cleared these projects and sanctioned fund allocations from time to time overlooking the serious discrepancies in the project reports and the unreasonable exorbitant cost escalations.

It is high time to expose the nexus between the partners in the Commonwealth Games loot and those providing them political patronage by condoning this mess.

People of India have a solemn constitutional right to know who the real culprits of this national shame are.

The truth must prevail and shall prevail only if a comprehensive inquiry in the public domain is held and that is possible only through a Joint parliamentary probe.

The BJP demands the setting up of a Joint Parliamentary Committee at the earliest to probe into this monumental scam of Commonwealth Games Multi-Million Loot.

The terms of reference of the proposed JPC, among other things, should include devising a foolproof mechanism to ensure complete transparency in hosting a corruption and scandal free international sporting event in future.

 

(Shyam Jaju)

Headquarter Incharge

 


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