A probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), which is probing the Commonwealth Games (CWG) scam, has found that alleged irregularities in the ticketing management by a few Organising Committee (OC) officials resulted in the loss of Rs 61 crore to the state exchequer.
The agency's investigators have found it suspicious that accused OC officials had designated around 51% of the 11.4 lakh total printed tickets as "non revenue" or free tickets, out of which around 47% was complimentary, according to a CBI source who is not authorised to speak to the media.
"This was despite the fact that during the sporting event held last October, there was an acute shortage of revenue (paid) tickets, about which the then Ticketing Functional Area chief had warned the concerned top OC officials several times," said the source.
The OC had originally estimated that it would earn around Rs 100 crore from the sale of tickets, which in turn was meant for funding CWG expenditure. "It is extraordinary that in an event like CWG, around 47% of tickets issued were complimentary, given the fact that the OC's mandate was to conduct the games in a revenue-neutral manner," said the source.
The source added, "The Ticketing Functional Area chief, Sanjiv Mittal had recommended to a few top OC officials on October 7, 2010, that it should stop the distribution of unsold tickets as complimentary for any sporting discipline, except athletics. This was in view of a surge in ticket sales according to Mittal," who, according to the source, had also recommended the stoppage of printing of complimentary tickets.
"Instead, Mittal was removed as chief of the Ticketing Functional Area the same day he had issued his recommendations and transferred to another functional area allegedly for resolving catering issues," said the source.
The accused OC officials had allegedly ignored other warnings given to them about the need to stop issuing complimentary tickets.
While an official had issued an alert saying, "People are complaining that tickets are shown as sold out on the website as well as ticket office even when the stands (in the stadiums) are empty," another OC official lamented.