Deviations, delays main reasons for misconduct: Panel

The Prime Minister appointed VK Shunglu panel, probing the alleged financial irregularities in organising the Commonwealth Games (CWG), has zeroed in on delays in conducting audits and deviations from written contracts as the main reasons behind the wrongdoings. Nagendar Sharma reports.
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Updated on Jan 27, 2011 12:57 AM IST
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Hindustan Times | ByNagendar Sharma, New Delhi

The Prime Minister appointed VK Shunglu panel, probing the alleged financial irregularities in organising the Commonwealth Games (CWG), has zeroed in on delays in conducting audits and deviations from written contracts as the main reasons behind the wrongdoings.

In an apparent dig at the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG), the two-member panel is in the process of documenting the delays in auditing the accounts of the CWG Organising Committee (OC) during the past five years.

In a related but separate development, Shunglu, in a letter to information and broadcasting minister Ambika Soni, has recommended freezing of all CWG related payment to private companies till she goes through the probe panel report, likely to be submitted soon and which could have “some startling” results.

“The CAG gave importance to technicalities before initiating the OC audit and then insisted on auditing only those accounts which were certified by chartered accountants, which led to huge delays in mandatory audits,” said a highly placed source.

“The result of these delays was that the OC audits could not be finalised on time any year since the OC was set up in February 2005. In some cases, the correspondence between the CAG and the OC is still going on,” the source said.

The panel is reportedly upset since such events “led to the CAG reports related to the games yet to be reported to the Parliament, which defeats the mechanism put in place by the government in 2006”.

According to sources, the escalation in costs of the CWG related projects and the alleged financial bungling could have been prevented, had the audit been completed on time and wrongdoings pointed out.

The probe panel, which is expected to submit its first report to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) soon, has apprised the I&B minister of its apprehension that the Prasar Bharti and Doordarshan “might make payments to persons who ought not to be paid” given the facts.

Referring to the R246 crore deal signed by Doordarshan, under instructions from Prasar Bharti, with British firm SIS Live for broadcasting rights of the games, Shunglu has suggested that Soni wait for the report.

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