A day after asking PSUs to hold back the sponsorship money for Commonwealth Games, Union Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh on Friday said spending money for the sporting event was not compulsory for the public sector units.
"Sponsorship was not compulsory, it was voluntary. It was left to the PSUs and they should take their decision," Deshmukh said today.
While most of the corporate houses have shied away from the Games, the latest directives to the PSUs could be a severe jolt to the crisis-ridden Organising Committee of the Commonwealth Games.
"Earlier we have appealed to PSUs for sponsorship but now after these controversy surfacing, I have asked them to hold on," he said adding "currently there are certain issues regarding corruption being raised. Once things settled down clear... the PSUs can go ahead with sponsorship."
Deshmukh on Thursday said his ministry has asked PSUs to hold back sponsorship money totalling up to Rs 260 crore for the event.
NTPC and PowerGrid have also held back Rs 40 crore sponsorship money out of a combined committed sum of Rs 60 crore for the event, while the Railways, the lead partner of the Games, has also sought clarifications before releasing money.
Railway minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday said her ministry would ascertain the credentials of the Commonwealth Games expenditure before releasing the sponsorship money.
"This is an important issue. Rupees 100 crore was promised in the Railway Budget. But we have not yet worked out the modalities of how the funds should be given for CWG," Mamata has said in the Lok Sabha.
On Thursday, Congress president Sonia Gandhi had said those found guilty of corruption in works related to the Games would be punished after the event.