COMMONWEALTH GAMES SCAM

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Author:

Sukriti Singh

University Institute of Law, R.D.V.V

The Commonwealth games is an international, multi sport events involving athletes from the Commonwealth of Nations. The event was first held in 1930 and has taken place every four years since (except 1942 and 1946). The games are described as third largest multi sport event in the world after Olympic Games and the Asian games.[1]

The XIX commonwealth game which is reported as the largest international multi-sport event was held in Delhi from 3 to 14 October 2010. In 21 sports and 272 events a total of 6081 athletes from commonwealth nations and dependencies participated in the mega event. Australia bagged the maximum number of medals and topped the medal tally with a total of 177 medals including 74 gold, 55 silver and 48 bronze medals.[2]India ranked 2nd in the medal tally with a total of 101 medals including 38 gold, 27 silver and 36 bronze.[3]

But despite of all the success and the appreciation received worldwide by the media across the globe[4] [5]one thing which equally grabbed the attention of all is the corruption and the irregularities in the organization of the games , the commonwealth games was severely criticized by many social activists and politicians as a large amount of money was spent in these games despite the fact that India has one of the world’s largest concentration of poor people.[6][7]The organizing committee and the games officials were alleged for doing corruption at various levels of organization, delays in the construction of games’ venues, infrastructural compromise, possibility of terrorist attack and many more.[8][9][10]

Central vigilance commission in his report released on 28 July 2010 showed irregularities in 14 cwg projects[11] , in total 129 works in 71 organizations have been inspected[12].The detailed preliminary findings included the award of work contracts at higher prices, poor quality assurance and management, and work contracts awarded to ineligible agencies.[13]

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had on October 25 appointed a high-level committee to look into alleged corruption and managerial lapses in conduct of the mega sporting event, the main findings of the report are as follows:

  • OC intentionally delayed overlays contracts by not providing estimates for the 630 crores overlay contracts.
  • OC could have saved Rs. 138 crore in overlays if it had negotiated for the overlays contracts.
  • Chairman (Suresh Kalmadi) appointed Loyalists in Key positions, particularly a large number from Pune including a railway guard.
  • Employees and consultants and advisors were hired on criteria other than merit.
  • Candidates with questionable background were accommodated, especially at senior positions with decision-making powers.
  • Chairman approached Government for an additional Rs. 900 crore in August 2010 when there was no need for additional funds.
  • The Organizing Committee kept misrepresenting a revenue neutral position to justify extravagant spending.
  • Chairman spent Rs. 5.06 crores on a reckless exercise of patronage to send people unrelated with sports to the Bejing Olympics on a pleasure trip.
  • Consultants, including Shashi Tharoor, were hired at terms dictated by them.
  • Contract for timer board issued by Lalit Bhanot’s office without informing technology consultant or technology head.
  • Chairman kept the Executive Board in the dark about detrimental aspects of SMAM contracts.[14]

Taking a major step in the investigation Central bureau of Investigation (CBI) on 25 April 2011 by arresting former CWG organizing committee chairman Suresh Kalmadi in the Time Scoring Result (TSR) case[15] , under section 120-B and 420 of IPC.CBI filed the first chargsheet on 20 May 2011 alleging kalmadi as the main accuse in the TSR system contract to a Swiss firm. In the charge sheet CBI named two companies and eight people along with the organizing committee former chairman Lalit Bhanot and former Director General VK Verma as accused,[16] charged under the section 13(1) (d) of the Prevention of Corruption Act and under various sections of IPC. . The investigation revealed that officials of the OC

had conspired with private persons for awarding the contract at an excessive net cost of about                         157.62 crore(US$27 million) as compared to a net bid of Spain-based company for approximately 62.01 crore(US$11 million).This resulted in a loss of about 95.60 crore (US$16 million)by wrongly eliminating all competitors of Swiss-based company.

The other case involved in this scam is the case of Queen’s Baton relay in which it was alleged in the CBI’s FIR that in relation to the QBR held on October 29, 2009, the OC awarded the work of transportation to the AM Car and Van Hire Ltd at exorbitantly high rates without following the standard tender process.[17] After completing investigations, CBI filed its second charge-sheet (after the charge-sheet in TSR case) in a special CBI court in Delhi. The CBI named OC officials T S Darbari, Sanjay Mohindroo, Jeychandran and London-based businessman Ashish Patel and his two companies AM Car n Van Hire and AM Films. The chargesheet alleged that OC members conspired to award contracts of local transportation and others to Patel’s companies at excessive rates during the event held in London in 2009.[18]

On 23rd august 2012 the CBI registered a new case related to hiring of the Switzerland-based consultant, Event Knowledge Services (EKS), for providing venue development support services to the OC. Later, the Rs 70 crore contracts were extended to include venue development programme management and facilitation support. Based on Shunglu Committee’s findings, CBI registered an FIR against Suresh Kalmadi, Lalit Bhanot and AK Mattoo.[19] CBI sources revealed in July 2012 that the probe against alleged corruption in construction of Barapullah Flyover and grant of Bail-out Package to EMAAR MGF is likely to be closed in the absence of substantiating evidence.[20] As the inquiry progressed on 3rd February 2013The Delhi high court framed charges against Kalmadi, who was sacked as CWG Organising Committee(OC) chairman, and the other accused, also including OC Secretary General Lalit Bhanot, for the offences punishable under the IPC and Prevention of Corruption Act for allegedly causing a loss of over Rs 90 crore to the exchequer.[21]

The commonwealth games scam has degraded the reputation of India on global index and India has been perceived as more corrupt nation after the cwg scam and slipped to 87th spot in Transparency International’s latest ranking of nations based on the level of corruption. On one hand the cwg games has gained appreciations worldwide on the other hand multi crore rupees was wasted and a huge amount of public’s money was stolen by the corrupt politicians and the bureaucrats and make this mega event a national shame, where the accountability and the transparency of our system and the government came under a big question mark , where the nation is still waiting for the answer in the form of justice by punishing the offenders and progress in the affairs of governing the great nation; and despite the negative precedent hitherto set, the younger generation should rise up with integrity as pillars, in the rebuilding of the ruins, with the dawn of another new year.

 
 

 


[12] http://www.cvc.nic.in/cwgclrf3072010.pdf

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