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Games project delays deliberate?

Till October 15, 2009, the CWG Organising Committee had approved just 5%—28 —of the 540-odd contracts that it was required to sanction for the sporting event. Abhishek Sharan reports.

delhi Updated: Feb 16, 2011 00:02 IST
Abhishek Sharan

Till October 15, 2009, the CWG Organising Committee had approved just 5%—28 —of the 540-odd contracts that it was required to sanction for the sporting event.

This was a year ahead of the Games and allegedly led to delays and in turn acceptance of inflated tenders, according to CBI findings.

“Till October 15, 2009, the CWG OC, led by its former chief Suresh Kalmadi, had finalised only 28 projects out of the 540-odd projects it was required to sanction .... According to the CWG's Master Schedule prepared in 2006, the OC's pace of tendering and approving projects was much delayed,” said a CBI source.

The “delay in approving/finalising the CWG contracts” was allegedly “deliberate and led to acceptance of inflated tenders”, said the source.

He said, “Most of the contracts should have been finalised by 2008 to give enough time to international vendors to put their logistics in place and execute contracts well.”

The agency suspects the delays were meant to speed-up to clearance of backlog so that specific firms with inflated tenders could be favoured over firms quoting reasonable costs.

The source said, “The 512 contracts — including the crucial technical tenders pertaining to timing, scoring, results and overlays — were marked in red and could be finalised only after October 15, 2009. But due to the resultant hurry, one contract had to be finalised on October 13, 2010, when the CWG was already underway.”

“It was due to the slow pace of approving the contracts, that Commonwealth Games Federation president Mike Fennell had sought Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's intervention for damage-control in September 2009,” said the source. A CGF panel report had then predicted "partial failure" of the Games.

Despite several attempts Kalmadi could not be contacted for comment. The contracts were to be approved by the OC's executive management committee, which was then headed by Kalmadi.