Sponsors stung by taint, want to quit
The allegations of largescale misuse of funds by the Commonwealth Games Organising Committee is forcing most state-owned sponsors of this mega event — main sponsor Indian Railways and co-sponsors NTPC and Powergrid — to reconsider. Anupama Airy and Mahua Venkatesh report. Revealed: E-mail fraud report details | Second thoughtsdelhi Updated: Aug 07, 2010 01:12 IST
The allegations of largescale misuse of funds by the Commonwealth Games Organising Committee (OC) is forcing most state-owned sponsors of this mega event — main sponsor Indian Railways and co-sponsors NTPC and Powergrid — to reconsider.
While the Railways, with a commitment of Rs 100 crore, and NTPC have both threatened to pull out, Powergrid Corporation has decided to withhold the entire Rs 10 crore it had pledged.
NTPC, which has released Rs 20 crore of the Rs 50 crore committed, said it would withhold the balance of Rs 30 crore till it gets clarifications over issues raised by it with the OC.
"NTPC has written to Suresh Kalmadi (OC chairman) seeking written confirmation that no part of our money will be misused, as is being reported in the media," NTPC Chairman and Managing Director R S Sharma told HT.
"In case we don't get a written confirmation, NTPC will be forced to withdraw its support to the Games."
Powergrid Chairman and Managing Director S K Chaturvedi said the company board had already approved Rs 10 crore for the games.
"But following recent events, we have decided to withhold the entire financial support," he said.
A senior Railway official confirmed having asked the organising committee to ensure that no part of its pledged fund would be used to pay commissions.
"Railways are concerned that the money is utilised properly and no part of it should be given to outsiders or go as commission to any consultant," the official said.
Central Bank of India, however, does not have this luxury. It has already released the entire Rs 50 crore it had promised to towards the sponsorship of the games.
"There is nothing that can be done at this stage," a senior official of the bank told Hindustan Times on the condition of anonymity.
"The saving grace is that since we are the only official banker for the games, we'll get all the deposits."
Central Bank Chairman and Managing Director S Sridhar did not answer calls or mails.
In case of Air India, which is the official carrier for the games, no cash support has been extended except the commitment to ferry athletes and delegates free of cost.
The total cost committed by AI for providing the free seats is Rs 50 crore.