Vigilance quizzed Kalmadi in sports equipment purchase scam

  • Bedanti Saran, Hindustan Times, Ranchi
  • Updated: Nov 10, 2014 19:54 IST

The vigilance sleuths on Monday questioned former Indian Olympic Association (IOA) president and ex-union minister Suresh Kalmadi to ascertain his role in the multi-crore games equipment purchase scam regarding 34th National Games held in 2011 in Ranchi.

The state vigilance bureau, which is investigating the case, has detected financial irregularities committed in purchase of equipment and other logistics for the games resulting in a loss of Rs 28 crore to the exchequer. It had already arrested former director of the state sports department PC Mishra and National Games Organizing Committee’s (NGOC) secretary SM Hashmi.

The vigilance bureau had summoned Kalmadi for interrogation to ascertain his role in the procurement of sports equipment. The sleuths questioned him for two hours in which Kalmadi was asked to answer 18 pin-pointed queries.

“Kalmadi denied the allegations directly related to him. However, based on his statements, we would cross examine him with certain people related with the case. For this, we have to summon him again for interrogation,” said a senior vigilance official, monitoring the investigation.

Additional director general (ADG), Vigilance, Neeraj Sinha, refused to divulge as to what transpired from Kalmadi’s interrogation. He said, “We cannot comment on the investigation which is still continuing”.

Coming out of the bureau’s office, Kalmadi said, “I am a witness, not an accused in the case. I have answered the entire questionnaire prepared by the bureau and hope that it would now clear the doubts”.

The bureau had also summoned former IOA director ASB Prasad for interrogation but the later has sought time for appearance on health ground.

The matter hogged the limelight after accountant general, in its audit report, had categorically pointed out certain serious irregularities committed in host city contract relating to 34th National Games. The report highlighted that games equipment was purchased in utter deviation of government’s financial rules. In many cases, equipment was purchased without inviting tenders and in many cases the lowest bidders were not allocated supply orders. Besides, sports articles were purchased in excess to their actual requirement and much above the market price, the report said.

Based on the findings of audit report, Hockey Jharkhand president Bhola Nath Singh had filed a complaint with the vigilance bureau seeking thorough probe against NGOC officials including its working chairman RK Anand and treasurer Madhu Kant Pathak.

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