Close on the heels of investigating agencies turning the heat on the Commonwealth Games Organising Committee (OC), the VK Shunglu panel has asked the Centre to divest OC of all powers granted to it to conduct the mega-sporting event.
The panel, which was appointed by the prime minister to probe into all games-linked irregularities, is headed by VK Shunglu, former Comptroller and Auditor General of India.
In a letter written to Union cabinet secretary KM Chandrashekhar last week, Shunglu has said that divesting the Organising Committee of its powers would prevent the scam-tainted organisation from further misusing government funds.
Sources said the immediate provocation for the letter seems to be the full-page advertisement worth R23 lakh given by the OC in national newspapers on November 10, refuting allegations of wrong doings committed by it in conducting the Games.
The OC’s executive board was granted sweeping powers during the Games (financial and otherwise) to conduct the event.
OC officials, sources said, are now in a dilemma over the Shunglu panel’s request to the government. “If the OC’s powers are scrapped, an alternative arrangement has to be put in place. The OC still has to clear payments worth crores to companies, which provided their services during the Games,” said a source.
This is not all. The panel has further written to the cabinet secretary to direct the OC to start the process of transferring the revenue generated from the Games to the government exchequer.
The OC had taken more than Rs 1,800 crore from the government as “loan” for organising the Games. It had said that once the Games was over, it would return the entire amount. But even a month-and-a half after the Games got over, the OC is yet to honour its commitment.
Sources said the OC top brass, in a meeting on Wednesday, has decided to start the process of returning the money it earned from the Games. “We expect to raise revenue to the tune of Rs 650 crore as against our expenditure of Rs 1800 crore. As of now, we have collected R260 crore, which we have decided to return to the government. The OC has written to the sports ministry to initiate the process,” said an OC official.