Former CWG Organising Committee Secretary General Lalit Bhanot, accused in a games-related graft case, friday told a Delhi court that he cannot be charged with the offence of conspiracy as nothing was kept "secret" regarding the award of TSR system contract to the Swiss firm.
Arguing for Bhanot, senior advocate Ramesh Gupta told special judge Talwant Singh that everything was "transparent" in the process of awarding the contract to Swiss Timing as it was announced in the general assembly meeting of the OC on October 12, 2009.
"Nothing can be more transparent on part of Organising Committee" as it had openly announced in its general assembly meeting that the Timing, Scoring and Results (TSR) system contract is being given to Swiss Timing.
"A large number of foreigners were also present in that meeting. Nothing was kept secret so where is the conspiracy," he said, while opposing the framing of charges against Bhanot.
The counsel also argued that while framing charges against Bhanot, the court must examine where is "conspiracy, dishonesty and maliciousness".
"Conspiracy is done between two-three persons and it is kept secret but when the award of contract was announced in front of a large number, it is not conspiracy or dishonesty," he said.
Earlier, the CBI prosecutor had argued that two bids were received for TSR contract from Swiss Timing and MSL Spain and the same were opened on November 4, 2009 but sacked CWG OC
Chief Suresh Kalmadi and Director General V K Verma, accused in the case, had on October 12, 2009 itself announced in a meeting that the contract would be awarded to Swiss Timing.
The CBI had alleged that Kalmadi and his associates had rejected the Spanish firm MSL's bid with much lower value at Rs. 62 crore for installing the Times, Scoring and Result system for the 2010 CWG games and had awarded it to the Swiss Timing Omega, causing a loss of over Rs. 90 crore to the public exchequer.
Kalmadi, Bhanot and nine others have been charge-sheeted by the CBI for allegedly "illegally" awarding contract to install the TSR system for the 2010 CWG to Swiss Timing, violating various provisions of the IPC and the Prevention of Corruption Act.
Besides Kalmadi and Bhanot, the other nine accused in the case are OC's Director General V K Verma, Director General (Procurement) Surjit Lal, Joint Director General (Sports) A S V Prasad and Treasurer M Jayachandran. They are no more associated with the sporting body.
Promoters of two construction companies - P D Arya and A K Madan of Faridabad-based Gem International and A K Reddy and his firm AKR Constructions are also accused in the case.
Besides the two firms, Swiss Timing Omega - the Swiss firm which was awarded the contract allegedly at exorbitant rates -and AKR Constructions are also accused in the case.