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CWG row: Indian mission refutes Kalmadi's claim

india Updated: Jul 31, 2010 22:30 IST

In a new twist to the major scam in the Commonwealth Games, the Indian High Commission in London on Saturday refuted the claim made by Organising Committee (OC) Chairman Suresh Kalmadi that the British company to which large sums were paid had been recommended by the mission.

Reacting to remarks made by Kalmadi, India's Deputy High Commissioner in London told PTI that "the High Commission has not made any (such) recommendation".

The High Commission spokesman said, "A M Films is not on the panel of companies recommended by the High Commission usually".

The spokesman said, "we have to scrutinise the email Kalmadi is holding as proof of the High Commission's recommendation".

Kalmadi, who convened a press conference in Delhi said the Indian High Commission had recommended the name of A M Films, a little known British company, and "if there is something wrong there, I am not responsible for it".

Kalmadi had shown a communication purportedly sent by Raju Sebastian, an assistant in the Indian mission, recommending the name of the British company. High Commission sources said Sebastian was too junior a staffer to have been entrusted with this task.

A M Films was reportedly given over 4.50 lakh pounds by the OC without following any proper tendering procedure and there was no paper work. Kalmadi has rubbished allegations of wrongdoings.

Kalmadi, who has been under fire over allegations of financial irregularities, however, admitted that there was no contract under which payments were made to A M Films, saying it was roped in "at the last minute".

"There is no contract between the OC and A M Films which was roped in at the last minute only on the recommendation of the Indian High Commission in London", he said.

The OC is reported to have made a payment of nearly 2.5 lakh pounds for video equipment purchase while A M Films has claimed that it provided services of car hire, makeshift toilets, barriers and electricity.

The press interaction came a day after a major scam hit the Commonwealth Games with reports that A M Films was given over 4.50 lakh pounds without following any proper tendering procedure and there was no paper work.

Kalmadi claimed that "every pie is accounted for" and threatened to initiate legal action against those who have maligned the OC's image with "totally unfounded and baseless" allegations.

Washing his hands off charges of irregularities in awarding contracts for construction of stadiums which figure in the Central Vigilance Commission's report, he said OC was not in the picture.

Even as Kalmadi claimed there was "total transparency" in all the deals, Sports Minister M S Gill sent out a stern warning, saying "prompt and appropriate" action will be taken if any irregularities related to the mega event in October were brought to the Ministry's notice.

Noting that he was closely following media reports alleging irregularities, he said "if anything comes to our notice which needs to be dealt with, then the officers must make sure that they deal with it promptly and appropriately".