Heads may roll, PM orders probe into pre-Games charges
The 19th Commonwealth Games are over; now expect heads to roll. The Prime Minister has drafted former comptroller and auditor general VK Shunglu to steer a wide-ranging probe into irregularities in organising the event. Zia Haq and Moushumi Das Gupta report. PM felicitates winners, Kalmadi kept out | Graphics: Fixing the blamedelhi Updated: Oct 16, 2010 01:58 IST
The 19th Commonwealth Games are over; now expect heads to roll. The Prime Minister has drafted former comptroller and auditor general VK Shunglu to steer a wide-ranging probe into irregularities in organising the event. Ahead of the Games, the PM had promised a full investigation of all allegation of irregularities.
Shunglu, who is on a visit to US, has been asked to head back at his “earliest convenience”. An official familiar with the developments said the UPA government is determined to hold officials to account for a botched build-up to the Games that made headlines across the world.
Multi-agency investigations have already gained momentum, with the government drawing up a list of 21 high-ranking officials whose role would be examined, the official told HT.
The CAG on Friday sent teams to two games venues. The Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Swimming Pool Complex (Talkatora Stadium) and the shooting range at Kadarpur, were both built by the Central Public Works Department, a wing of the Union urban development ministry. On Monday, CAG teams will visit the organizing committee to audit its accounts.
While the Central Bureau of Investigation, which had been asked to stand by till the games finish, will probe tenders, the Enforcement Directorate will look into routing and transfer of funds. The Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) will examine bidding documents of 14 projects executed by the Games Organising Committee, Delhi Government and Sports Authority of India.
The investigations will focus on two areas: financial bungling and mal-administration, which caused humiliating delays.
In a clear signal of how seriously it's taking the probe, the government cold-shouldered games’ organizing committee chief Suresh Kalmadi by keeping him out of a function where the prime minister feted Indian medal winners on Friday.
The finance committee of the games’ organising committee, the key panel that authorised all spendings, will be examined for fraud. For lack of preparedness, the role of sports and urban development ministries will be looked into. Secretaries of these ministries – Sindhushree Khullar and M Ramachandran (now retired), respectively – figure on the list of officers under the scanner.
Sources said sports minister MS Gill’s role is being viewed critically. “Traditionally, sports ministry is headed by a minister of state. Under Gill, it was elevated to a Cabinet rank in view of the games,” the official said.
The official said the charge against Gill was that he "did not take ownership" of the event and his differences with the organizing committee "jeopardised coordination".
Delhi’s Lieutenant-Governor Tejender Khanna’s role will also come under scrutiny as he heads the Delhi Development Authority — directly responsible for the Games Village, whose filth had caught global attention. Congress spokesman Manish Tewari said “irregularities would not be glossed over”.
First Published: Oct 15, 2010 20:54 IST