For the Commonwealth Games Organising Committee, it does not seem to be a case of once bitten, twice shy.
Or so it would seem, going by the OC’s previous experience with the Australian consultant, Sports Marketing and Management (SMAM), that it hired in 2008 to get sponsorships for the Commonwealth Youth Games in Pune.
During the Pune games, the OC received total sponsorship worth Rs 19.99 crore. Out of this, over half-a-dozen public sector undertakings (PSU’s) contributed sponsorships worth Rs 17.88 crore — or 89.45 per cent of the total amount.
While SMAM was responsible for generating sponsorship worth just Rs 2.11 crore, the OC paid it a commission of Rs 2.68 crore for the sponsorships received from PSUs for the Commonwealth Youth Games Pune till March 2010.
"Thus, it may be seen that the consultant did not succeed in bringing any sponsors other than the PSUs," states the interim inspection report of the Comptroller and auditor General of India.
CAG is now probing why despite the Pune fiasco, OC went ahead and signed contract with the same firm again for the 2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games.
"There is more to it than meet the eye. This issue should be probed by the investigating agencies and responsibility should be fixed," said a government official involved with games preparations.
Last week, the OC had terminated its contract with SMAM for non-performance.
The OC had signed the contract with SMAM way back in 2007 knowing fully well that it (the contract) favoured the firm. This despite the OC Executive Board appointing a four-member committee headed by then Delhi government secretary O.P. Kelkar to examine the terms and conditions of the agreement.
In mid 2007, the Kelkar committee put the contract proposal before the 15-member Executive Board headed by OC chairman Suresh Kalmadi. The Board went through the proposal, found it okay and approved it.
It was the flawed contract agreement that the OC signed with SMAM that ensured that despite the latter failing to deliver, it would have got up to 22 percent commission from sponsorship that it did not procure on its own (like those coming directly to OC from PSUs.
For the Delhi Commonwealth Games, PSUs including Air India, Central Bank of India, NTPC and Railways have committed a sponsorship worth Rs Rs 250 crore. SMAM had managed to get just Rs 125 crore from sponsors.