The tabling of the report of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) on the Commonwealth Games (CWG) 2010 in Parliament on Friday led to a renewed attack by the BJP on Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit.
Law minister Salman Khurshid, however, brushed aside the barbs, saying Parliament would consider the report.
"The matter is before Parliament. Please give Parliament a chance to reflect on it," PTI quoted the minister as saying.
The report has indicted the prime minister’s office (PMO) for the appointment of Suresh Kalmadi as chief of the CWG Organising Committee (OC) and the Sheila Dikshit government for causing huge losses to the exchequer by over-spending while preparing Delhi for the sporting event.
The report states that despite serious objections from the erstwhile minister for youth affairs and sports, the late Sunil Dutt, Suresh Kalmadi was appointed OC chairman on the recommendation of the PMO in December 2004.
Government sources, however, claimed that the PMO has not been indicted in the CAG report. They said there could not be any irregularity in the appointment of Kalmadi as the OC head as at that time he was a member of Parliament and had cross-party support.
The sources also pointed out that Kalmadi was in jail for “acts of omission and commission” and that at no point does the CAG report use the word scam or corruption.
The report has also pointed out instances of favouritism and biases by the OC in selection of surfaces for athletic tracks, hockey turf and badminton courts.
Procuring of imported luminaries (lights) at inflated costs led to an extra expenditure of Rs 31.07 crore.
"Records show the decision on use of imported luminaries being taken with the active involvement of the CM at various stages," the report says.
BJP spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad said, "We demand that Sheila Dikshit should resign, and if she does not, she should be sacked."
Prasad also slammed the PMO.
"Such huge allocations would not have been possible without the consent of the cabinet committee, cabinet sub-committee, GoMs, expenditure committee, finance committee and the PMO. Their role should be probed," he said.
"Dikshit should step aside till her name is cleared," said CPM politburo member Brinda Karat, demanding her resignation.
"The OC made highly suspect payments of 386,237 pounds (about Rs 2.80 crore) to two little-known firms AM Films UK Ltd and AM Car and Van Hire Ltd on the Queen's Baton Relay launch ceremony," the report says.
Serious irregularities have been found in the award of the contract to Emaar MGF for construction of the CWG residential complex. The renovation and restoration project of Connaught Place witnessed a nine-fold increase in cost from the estimated Rs 76 crore to Rs 671 crore.
Streetscaping and beautification works were awarded and executed in an arbitrary manner with wasteful expenditure of Rs 101 crore, the report says.
On governance, the CAG report noted that it had provided some strong recommendations to the government in 2009 but no serious attention was paid to them.
"Timely remedial action would have mitigated the losses suffered by the government while organising the CWG."
"In the absence of a single point of authority and accountability, and the lack of a clear governance structure, a multiplicity of coordination committees was created, disbanded and reconstituted at different points of time," the reports says.