The CBI on Wednesday grilled Commonwealth Games Organising Committee (OC) chairman Suresh Kalmadi for over nine hours regarding alleged financial irregularities in the Games.
The agency suspects that finalising of the Games-related contracts were allegedly delayed to benefit a few firms/contractors.
A CBI source, requesting anonymity, said the agency suspects that the OC, headed by Kalmadi, "deliberately delayed the issuance of tenders for various Games-related works for months and then handed them over to a few select firms at inflated rates".
The CBI source pointed to a noting made on an OC file by the Games chief executive officer Jarnail Singh on April 22 about one such instance of delay.
On a file related to a tender connected to the catering work, Singh had written, "No time for re-tendering…. Only option open is to change scope of work of RFP…holding of the games can be in jeopardy."
The source added, "We suspect the delays were part of a criminal conspiracy so that certain contracts could be given at the last moment, at inflated rates and without adherence to the standard protocol."
The CBI began interrogating Kalmadi after he had arrived at the CBI headquarters at around 10am. He left after 7pm. Kalmadi may be questioned again soon. The CBI has also not ruled out making more arrest/s.
The CBI also questioned Kalmadi extensively about the Games contract given to the London-based, AM Films UK Limited, for the work of installation of video screens at the venue of Queens Baton Relay (October 29, 2009).
"This contract was awarded on the basis of fake quotations and without following the standard procedure, which resulted in substantial monetary gain for the accused firm and corresponding loss to the government," said the source.
CBI also questioned Kalmadi about Rs 668-crore worth of contracts that were awarded to four foreign firms for the supply of overlays on rental basis.
Kalmadi, said the source, told CBI that the Games-related decisions were taken collectively and that he was merely a part of them.
Kalmadi was also asked about two forged emails that benefited accused firms and an alleged threat from a blackmailer, who demanded Rs 4 crore, and had made specific charges against him contained in a compact disc.
The CBI is expected to file an FIR in this regard.