The CBI on Tuesday interrogated Lalit Bhanot, a key aide to Commonwealth Games Organising Committee chairman Suresh Kalmadi, about a blackmail letter found in Kalmadi's house and his alleged involvement in tampering with evidence.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), which is probing alleged irregularities in the conduct of the Games event, had recovered a blackmail letter demanding R4 crore during a search of Kalmadi’s residence.
The agency is trying to figure out whether the letter was genuine or merely an attempt to distract the focus of the investigation. "We are trying to find the identity of the sender and whether it was meant for Kalmadi or somebody else," said an officer, requesting not to be named.
The letter had threatened to make public contents of an enclosed compact disc, which has details that the agency is now trying to verify, that could expose the alleged irregularities.
Bhanot was also grilled to find out the significance of a directive, issued by the OC, a day before the CBI’s raids on Friday, said the source. The circular, according to the source, instructed all employees to deposit Games-related files and documents in a designated room.
The CBI suspects the order was meant to obstruct its attempt to gather relevant documents and evidence in course of its investigation. According to Bhanot, the directive was routine meant to deposit documents in a central record room, as per norms.
“The CBI had called me today about certain clarifications. A routine process,” Bhanot told HT. Despite HT's attempts, Kalmadi could not be contacted for a response. Along with Bhanot, the CBI also grilled another Kalmadi aide Manoj Bhore, whose Pune residence was raided by the agency on Friday.