NDA picked Suresh Kalmadi, we did not: Ajay Maken
Stung by the attempts to hit Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in Parliament, the government said on the second day of the monsoon session that it was the BJP-led NDA government that had handed over the Commonwealth Games organising committee to Suresh Kalmadi. HT reports. UPA returns fireUpdated: Aug 03, 2011 01:45 IST
Stung by the attempts to hit Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in Parliament, the government said on the second day of the monsoon session that it was the BJP-led NDA government that had handed over the Commonwealth Games organising committee to Suresh Kalmadi.
The government was found fire fighting for the second day of the monsoon session of Parliament with the BJP accusing the government of not willing to voting on 2G scam and price rise on Monday.
"The government had no option," sports minister Ajay Maken said, after making a suo-motto statement in Lok Sabha regarding appointment of Kalmadi as the committee chairperson even though two sports ministers -- Sunil Dutt and Mani Shankar Aiyar -- had opposed his appointment.
The BJP used leaked CAG report on Tuesday to accuse the PM for Games scam by saying the mess could have been prevented had the PM heeded the advice of two consecutive sports ministers.
The CAG report had reportedly accused the PM of ignoring warning letters of the two ministers about ramifications of appointment of Kalmadi.
Turning the tables on BJP, Maken held the NDA government responsible for Kalmadi's appointment saying that the word 'government appointee' in the bid document was deleted and then the host city contract had clear condition that Commonwealth Games Organisation, which in India's case was Indian Olympic Association, will be responsible for organising the Games.
"While it (NDA government) committed the Central government to all financial and infrastructural obligations, it took away any residual, amending or discretionary powers to be exercised in emergent situation to salvage wrong doings," Maken said.
"Any viable alternative to the provisions in contracts were neither explored nor suggested".
He also quoted the Shunglu committee report to say that sports minister during NDA regime Vikram Verma enjoyed a good rapport with Kalmadi and accused him of being instrumental in getting the latter appointed.
Although his statement made no mention of letters by two sports ministers, Maken told HT that there was no mention of appointment of Dutt as chairperson of the organising committee in the minutes of the group of ministers.
Dutt in his letter to PM Singh had expressed his anguish over appointment of Kalmadi as chairperson, referring to a decision of a group of ministers to appoint him as committee's head.
"It was just not possible as the NDA government had committed to appoint Kalmadi," he said.
Maken expressed surprise at NDA government approving the host city contract with protocols within a day of circulation of the cabinet note.
He questioned the decision of the NDA government to sign the host city contract instead of Delhi government as practice in other international sporting events such as forthcoming London Olympics.
The minister, who met PM Singh before making the statement, also said organisation of the Games after successful bidding should had been entrusted to a government body by amending host city contract and Games management protocols.
He also elaborated on the government's action against the functionaries including Kalmadi and other officials accused in the CWG scam.