Raided by CBI, Kalmadi says ready for any probe | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Raided by CBI, Kalmadi says ready for any probe

Commonwealth Games Organising Committee chairman says CBI investigation should not be linked to his being a Congress leader. CBI takes away documents laptops from his Delhi home. List of charges against Kalmadi | Podcast: Govt sends a message

delhi Updated: Dec 24, 2010 17:03 IST

The CBI on Friday allegedly took away documents, laptops and computer discs from the New Delhi residence of Commonwealth Games Organising Committee chairman Suresh Kalmad as part of its probe into financial wrongdoing in the Games that has led to the arrest of three of his colleagues.

Kalmadi's houses in Pune and Mumbai were also searched. Kalmadi, Congress MP from Pune, told reporters in Delhi he had cooperated with the CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation). "I have given full cooperation to the CBI," he said. The raids should not be linked to me being in the Congress, he added.

CBI officers also searched the Games Organising Committee office in New Delhi and the residence of a close aide in Pune, CBI spokesperson Vinita Thakur said.

Kalmadi says he has done no wrong and was willing to face any inquiry. Despite repeated attempts, IANS could not reach him.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) called the CBI action "too little, too late".

"The whole country knows there is a scam of more than Rs 70,000 crore ($15.5 billion) as far as the Commonwealth Games are concerned. The CBI action is too little, too late," BJP spokesman Rajiv Pratap Rudy said.

The well-coordinated CBI operation began around 7 am in all three cities, with the raiding teams in Pune and Mumbai led by officers flown in from New Delhi.

Official sources in Pune said Kalmadi's house off Karve road was raided by a seven-member team. His close aide Manoj Bhore's house in the city was also searched.

The CBI is probing alleged irregularities in the Organising Committee's contract of Rs 107 crore spent on overlays.

The charges against Kalmadi include overspending -- by crores of rupees. Kalmadi has said in his defence that many of the equipment were bought by the Organising Committee late due to lack of storage space and because the Games venues were not ready for installation.

Kalmadi's Mumbai residence, where CBI officers conducted their search for about three hours, is located on the elite Pochkanwala Road in Worli.

Sources said the CBI also questioned Kalmadi's aide Vinod Surve in Mumbai, but CBI officials did not confirm this.

The Commonwealth Games, which drew nearly 7,000 athletes and officials from 71 countries and territories, had been marred by controversies even before they began -- on charges of shoddy work, delays and corruption.

Congress President Sonia Gandhi had said earlier that the guilty would be punished. The Congress has sidelined Kalmadi, who was elected to the Lok Sabha for the third time in 2009 from Pune. He has also been a Rajya Sabha member four times.

Three other aides of Kalmadi in the Organising Committee -- TS Darbari, Sanjay Mohindroo and M Jayachandran -- are in custody in connection with another financial scam related to the Games.

That concerns money paid to AM Films - a sister concern of AM Car - for services during the Queen's Baton Relay function in London in October 2009 allegedly without following proper tender procedures and paperwork.

The CBI had earlier questioned two other senior Organising Committee officials, Secretary General Lalit Bhanot and Director General VK Verma, as well as Sangeeta Welinkar, another official.