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HindustanTimes Mon,21 Apr 2014

Shunglu panel accusations get point-by-point rejection

Moushumi Das Gupta and Atul Mathur, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, April 12, 2011
First Published: 00:04 IST(12/4/2011) | Last Updated: 00:05 IST(12/4/2011)

Will the government agencies and departments named by the VK Shunglu panel, which was appointed by the prime minister to probe into irregularities in conducting the Commonwealth Games, be made accountable for the wrongdoings committed by them?

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This seems to be a million-dollar question now, especially with the two main agencies responsible for readying the city for hosting the Games - Delhi government and Delhi Development Authority (DDA) - rejecting almost all the findings of the panel.

The DDA, responsible for developing the Games Village near Akshardham temple and some other venues in its response to the Shunglu panel's report, which was submitted to the Union Urban Development (UD) Ministry last week, has pleaded "not guilty" and said the charges are "misconceived." 

The Shunglu panel had in its report blamed Delhi lieutenant governor Tejendra Khanna, who is the ex-officio chairman of the DDA, for approving the bailout package for Emaar-MGF, the project developer without due diligence. Sources said the DDA, has in its reply, refuted these charges and said that before deciding to give financial assistance to Emaar-MGF in lieu of purchasing flats, clearance was taken from the then UD secretary M Ramachandran. The minutes of the discussion for the need for a bailout package was also recorded in the meeting called by the cabinet secretary on February 2009.      

The Delhi government, too, has rejected almost all the findings of the panel and accused it of deliberately choosing to adopt logic of "convenience" in finding corruption in every policy and every tender of the government.

Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit had called the panel's report a "product of paranoia, suspecting every action, every individual and assumes that every policy bespoke for a grand construct of corruption".

The government has since then appointed a three-member  committee, comprising  divisional commissioner DM Spolia, Delhi Jal Board chief executive officer Ramesh Negi and principal secretary (food and civil supplies) Dharam Pal, to prepare a "detailed reply" on the report that indicted her government. The reply will be submitted to the Home Ministry by May-end.

"We have examined the report minutely and collecting responses from each department named in the  report to prepare a comprehensive reply.  We do not want to leave a single point untouched," a panel member said.

With different department and agencies passing the buck, many in the government and outside are wondering if any serious outcome would follow the aftermath of the panel's findings.

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