No one heeded CAG’s warning bells
Early in 2010, Suresh Kalmadi had told HT that the event wouldn’t cost the country a penny. “It’ll be a revenue-neutral event,” he had said.delhi Updated: Aug 06, 2011 02:18 IST
Early in 2010, Suresh Kalmadi had told HT that the event wouldn’t cost the country a penny. “It’ll be a revenue-neutral event,” he had said.
A year later, and nine months after the Games, government auditors and financial investigators were staring at possibly thousands of crores of public money that went down the drain or vanished from the books of Kalmadi’s seat of power: the Organising Committee.
But in its final audit report of the Games—one of its most thorough probes—tabled in Parliament on Friday, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India said it had sounded an alarm about the Games long before anyone sniffed any foulplay.
In a report submitted to the Centre in July 2009, the CAG had said, “There was a need to rethink the governance model for the Games Project.”
The study report, which is not really a financial audit like the present one, could not have been more explicit. But no one listened.
That’s not all. Kalmadi and Co. had organised the Youth Commonwealth Games in Pune in 2008. In that too, the CAG had found unmistakable signs of fishy dealings. But again, everyone turned a blind eye.
The 743-page report goes through every shred of evidence across 33 departments in the central and state governments in Delhi and Maharashtra. In the end it pulls no punches in naming the high and mighty at all levels—be it Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit or even PM Manmohan Singh—along with the now-jailed Suresh Kalmadi.
In all the transactions, awarding of contracts and initiation of any financial processes, the CAG spotted a pattern.
In the works of all 34 Functional Areas of the OC, tender conditions were customised to suit a few favoured firms; criteria selectively applied; in almost all cases, the OC paid more than the market value to obtain goods; and lastly, in many cases no paperwork was kept. Other agencies like DDA , CPWD, the NDMC, the MCD and Delhi government were equally indicted.
“There were numerous instances of ‘single tendering’ and awarding of contracts to ‘ineligible vendors’. The process was inconsistent so as to favour particular bidders,” said Rekha Gupta, deputy CAG, on Friday.
Renovation and restoration of Connaught Place, originally estimated at Rs 76 crore, reached Rs 671 crore. The project is still incomplete.
The streetscaping contracts, awarded in an arbitrary manner, caused wasteful expenditure of Rs 101.02 crore. Favouring one company to bag the Timing and Scoring Equipment contract cost Rs 135.27 crore as compared to the estimated Rs 39.84 crore.