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Commonwealth games scam

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The Commonwealth games scam as it is known involved large scale misappropriation of money during the preparatory phase and conduct of the 2010 Commonwealth games held in New Delhi. The total value of the scam is estimated to be 70,000 crore.

Parties involved

Like any other scams it involved politicians, bureaucrats and corporates acting in collusion

Politicians involved

  • Suresh kalmadi, the Congress party representative to 15 LokSabha from the Pune constituency. He was the Chairman of the Organising Committee of the Delhi Commonwealth games.
  • Sheila Dikshit, Chief minister of Delhi: Was indicted for several irregularities in the CWG processes both by Shunglu committee and also by the CAG
  • Robert Vadra

Bureaucrats involved

  • Lalit Bhanot, Secretary General of the Organising committee
  • TS Darbari, Joint Director General of the Organising committee
  • Sanjay Mahindroo, Deputy Director General of the Organising committee
  • BS Lalli, CEO of Prasar Bharati
  • M Jayachandran, Joint Director General (Accounts and Finance)

Corporations involved

  • AM Films
  • AM Cars
  • SIS Live
  • Jaypee Group, Its alleged that the proceeds of corruption are parked here through financial involvement of Suresh Kalmadi's son, Sumeer Kalmadi in the F1 circuit project at Greater Noida.
  • MTNL
  • HCL Infosystems
  • Sweka Powerteck Engineers Pvt Ltd

Businessmen involved

  • RSP Sinha, MTNL CMD
  • SM Talwar, Executive director MTNL
  • NK Jain, GM (Corporate Sales) MTNL
  • Jitendra Garg, DGM MTNL

Whistleblowers/ Law enforcers

The scam was unearthed by CAG even before the conduct of the games. Presently the scam is being probed by the CBI.

Scam

The various contracts were manipulated by Kalmadi and team and allegedly misappropriated huge amounts in the process.

Time scoring results system

Kalmadi has been accused of awarding illegal contracts to a Swiss firm for Timing-Scoring-Result system for the Games causing a loss of Rs 95 crore to the exchequer.

Queens baton relay

The Enforcement Directorate is probing the flow of funds and forex during the Queens Baton Relay held in London prior to the Commonwealth Games, apart from investigating the overlays-related works of the Games under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act. The ED case registered the case under Fema after British authorities referred to the Indian High Commission a matter regarding hiring of London-based transport firm AM Cars and Vans at exorbitant prices, and to similar high payments to AM Films for installing video screens at the venue of the Queen's Baton Relay.

Broadcast network

CBI registered another case in the Commonwealth Games scam and searched residences of officials of Mahanagar Telecom Nigam Limited, or MTNL, and Noida based HCL Infosystems for allegedly inflating cost of setting up a broadcast network for the Games by nearly Rs 400 crore.

It is alleged that MTNL awarded the work of broadcast network based on IP/MPLS Technology at an exorbitant price of approximately Rs 570.12 crore by manipulating specifications in such a manner as to make them tailor made for the said bidder to the said private company (HCL)," Mishra said. The agency alleged that initial estimate of broadcasting data transmission project for the sporting extravaganza was very limited with an initial estimate of Rs 31.43 crore, but MTNL officials included a Broadcast Video Network based on IP-MPLS technology, which resulted in cost escalation by Rs 380.04 crore.

CBI alleged that this change in specification was done with an intention to cause huge pecuniary advantage to HCL Infosystems, causing loss to the exchequer.

Recruitment to Organising committee

CBI sources lodged Preliminary Enquiry report against unknown persons in the Games organising body after it received several complaints and references from the Central Vigilance Commission claiming violation of norms in the appointments. They said the complainants alleged involvement of sacked OC Chairman Suresh Kalmadi, who is at present in judicial custody, and his close aides for irregularities in the recruitment process.

In its PE, the CBI has alleged that during the period of 2003 to 2009, some persons were nominated to the OC who had no expertise for various jobs. The Games organising body had an overall strength of about 2,100 officials engaged for various duties related to the mega sporting event. At present, there are about 100 officials on the rolls. The CVC has also conducted an enquiry into the alleged recruitment scam following complaints that it showed ghost employees on its muster rolls and violated norms while inducting people. The High Level Shunglu Committee had also found alleged irregularities in the recruitment procedures followed by certain OC officials.

CNN-IBN NDTV Hindustan Times

The CAG has questioned the deals between the CWG and certain media houses as the organising committee (OC) apparently resorted to pick-and-choose policy in the award of contracts worth over Rs. 6.73 crore. The CAG, in its report, tabled in Parliament last week, has dubbed the process arbitrary and biased.

The contract for production and broadcasting of commercials was given to two news channels, CNN-IBN and NDTV. The CAG said the OC followed an arbitrary approach with no planning for specific channels, time slots and cost benefit analysis. The CAG is more severe in its observations on the contract for creating a Games Time website, meant to put out real time information on sporting events, given to HT-Hungama - a consortium comprising Hindustan Times and Hungama. It has lambasted the process of awarding the contract to the consortium and said their work was deficient. A benevolent OC overlooked the non-performance and did not encash the performance guarantee of Rs. 0.29 crore. A contract tweaked in favour of HT-Hungama had no other provisions for penalties case of non-performance, the CAG said.

It said the bidding process was squeezed and completed within two months, leading to several irregularities. Among the three bidders, HT-Hungama's documentation was deficient but ignored by the technical committee. It led the CAG to conclude that the process was tailored in HT-Hungama's favour.

Street lighting scam

Entrepreneurs JP Singh and TP Singh conspired with Kalmadi team for award of a contract to their firm for upgrading Delhi's street lighting before the 2010 Commonwealth Games. Singhs along with MCD Superintendent Engineer DK Sugan, Executive Engineer OP Mahala, Accountant Raju V and civic body's tender clerk Gurcharan Singh have been accused of causing a loss of nearly Rs1.43 crore to the exchequers in illegal award of the contract to the firm. The trial court on March 12 had framed charges against Singhs and other accused for criminal conspiracy, cheating and forgery under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and various provisions of the Prevention of Corruption (PC) Act.

Bail was ultimately granted to the promoters of Delhi-based Sweka Powerteck Engineers Pvt Ltd on a personal bond of Rs five lakh each along with two sureties of same amount.

Response to scam

  • Kalmadi and Bhanot was sacked from the Organising Commitee by the Sports ministry on Jan 2011
  • Shunglu panel was constituted by Prime minister Manmohan Singh to go into the irregularities in the conduct of the Games.
  • After his arrest on 25 Apr 2011, Suresh kalmadi was suspended by the Indian National Congress

Arrests made

  • TS Darbari and Sanjay Mahindroo was arrested by the CBI on 23 Nov 2010
  • Suresh kalmadi was arrested on 25 Apr 2011 and the next day was sent to eight days police custody.

Release on bail

Suresh Kalmadi often regarded as the CWG scamster was given bail by the Delhi High court on 19 Jan 2012. The stand taken by the CBI in High court helped Kalmadi secure bail. Almost every accused has been released on bail, while both the investigation and court proceedings linger at snail's pace.

Conviction

Leave alone conviction, Suresh Kalmadi who masterminded the scam has refused to even quit his posts in Olympic Association with tactit support of Congress party. India was humiliated in world stage when World Olympic Association asked India to take action against the tainted President of IOA.

The case and its progress are seldom reported in the media. CBI also seems to be happy with adopting the Bofors approach of stalling investigation. The officers are well rewarded with retirement posts in such incidents.

References

  1. http://ibnlive.in.com/news/cwg-scam-panel-indicts-prasar-bharati-ceo/142000-3.html
  2. http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/article2512437.ece
  3. http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/games-contracts-to-media-houses-arbitrary-and-biased-cag-report/1/147735.html
  4. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Suresh-Kalmadi-walks-out-of-Tihar-IOA-says-he-can-be-boss-again/articleshow/11555980.cms
  5. http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report_cwg-scam-hc-grants-bail-two-accused-in-street-lighting-scam_1692368
  6. http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2012-05-14/news/31701280_1_msl-spain-tsr-contract-swiss-timing

See also