India’s Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) is investigating burgeoning allegations of corruption in projects related to the costliest Commonwealth Games ever. But if the Delhi government had had its way, these investigations would not have happened.
In 2006, the government had sought a blanket exemption from vigilance enquiry for all Commonwealth Games (CWG)-related projects. “The Delhi government brass approached us in 2006 and demanded all CWG projects be given a blanket exemption from vigilance action in future,” said then CVC commissioner Sudhir Kumar. 2006 was when the execution of most CWG projects began.
The issue was raised at a meeting attended by top Delhi government officers including 20 chief engineers, said Kumar.
Special Advisor to the Games R Narayanaswamy, then Delhi’s chief secretary, said: “The issue came up for discussion in some form… there was a view it would not be possible for officials to execute the projects due to a time constraint or other delays.”
Ironically, a majority of the projects are now running late.
The CVC decided against granting exemption and instead advised the government to take all safeguards, including preparing comprehensive tenders to avoid manipulations. It has emerged this was not done.
Last year, when complaints of corruption began to pile up, the CVC took suo motu cognizance and picked 15 projects for inspection. The probe has revealed improprieties in all.
Central Vigilance Commissioner Pratyush Sinha declined comment, saying: “The issue has acquired a lot of dimensions.”
The CBI too has found evidence of corruption in some projects. “We’ve already zeroed in on some projects but will register FIRs only after the Games,” a top CBI officer told HT.