The CBI on Friday chargesheeted former chairman of the Commonwealth Games Organising Committee, Suresh Kalmadi, five of its former officials and three other persons for alleged irregularities in the award of a TSR (timing, scoring and results) system contract to a Swiss firm, resulting in a loss of over Rs 95 crore to the exchequer.
The nine men were charged with corruption, forgery, cheating and criminal conspiracy under the Indian Penal Code and Prevention of Corruption Act. It said the OC officials manipulated the bidding process to award the contract to Swiss Timing Private Limited at an exorbitant cost of around Rs 157 crore.
They allegedly eliminated another bidder, Spanish firm MSL Software, by tweaking the bidding process, though MSL’s offer was a much lower Rs 62 crore.Three of those named in the chargesheet are top officials of two Indian sub-contractors of the Swiss firm — Faridabad-based Gem International and Hyderabad-based AKR Constructions Pvt Ltd.
The CBI has “direct, clinching evidence against Kalmadi and the other accused”, said a senior official. “In November 2009, three-four days after the OC stopped accepting bids for the contract, Kalmadi met the evaluation committee members who were to assess the eligibility of the accepted bids — Swiss Timing and MSL. Kalmadi asked them to award the contract to the Swiss firm,” said the source.
"We have two witness testimonies… and two star witnesses — former OC officials — who have detailed the role of the accused in manipulating the bid process," the source said.
According to him, the CBI also found the OC’s TSR documents bearing Kalmadi’s signature on which "corrections were made and the name of the Swiss firm was written on them".
"The OC officials forged the minutes of a meeting with Commonwealth Games Federation officials to ramp up the Swiss firm’s eligibility potential while a video recording of the event showed them rooting for it, in Kalmadi's presence."
The CBI also suspects Rs 23 crore was paid as kickback. "Investigations revealed representatives of the Swiss company and two partners of the Faridabad-based firm conspired with the accused officials to get the contract… and received a payment of Rs 23 crore…, which was a bribe,” the official said.