POSTED BY Buzz ON Aug 02, 2011 AT 21:39 IST ,  Edited At: Aug 02, 2011 21:39 IST

While the embattled government is facing the heat over price-rise, the vicious cycle of increasing interest rates and declining growth, not to mention the variou scams it is embroiled in, the opposition has got a fresh salvo to fire in the form of a a leaked CAG report which apparently cites letters by former Sports Ministers Sunil Dutt and Mani Shankar Aiyar and faults the Prime Minister's Office [PMO] for ignoring warnings on the appointment of Suresh Kalmadi as the Commonwealth Games [CWG] Organising Committee [OC] Chief.

The report is expected to be tabled in the house soon.

The CAG directly holds the PMO responsible of giving Suresh Kalmadi a free hand in running the 2010 CWG OC and spending 2000 crores of taxpayers’ money.

Kalmadi is charged with having disbursed the money in an unfair manner to the contractors and also influencing the execution of various projects related to the Games since they were all approved by his panel.

Meanwhile, the sports minister Ajay Maken came up with what the Prime Minister perhaps had earlier alluded to as "skeletons in the opposition's cupboard"  with the charge that the previous NDA government had signed the Host City contract, instead of the Delhi government and that was the source of all the problems that followed later.

He also said that all opposition parties "who are making a hue and cry now" were part of the General Assembly of the IOA which elected Suresh Kalmadi as the chairman of the Organising Committee.

It is very clear from the CAG report, which even cites the declaration made by Kalmadi in his capacity as the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) chief to the Commonwealth Games Federation in 2003, that he was only supposed to be the vice-chairman of the OC.

The bid submitted by the IOA to the CWG Federation clearly specified that the executive board of the OC would be headed by a chairman nominated by the government. This is the way it had been even in the previous CWG which were held in Melbourne, where it was the government of Australia which was in charge.

It is on record in Mr Sunil Dutt's letter quoted by the CAG that a Group of Ministers (GoM) headed by the PM Manmohan Singh decided to appoint the Union Minister of Sports and Youth Affairs as the head of the OC on October 25, 2004.

Even Mr Ajay Maken's suo moto statement in the Lok Sabha today acknowledges:

'The original Bid Document had provided for a “Government Appointee” as the Chairman of the Executive Board of the Organizing Committee (OC), with the Vice Chairman being the IOA President. However, the bid document was inexplicably changed to delete the words “Government Appointee” in respect of the Chairman'


And that is where things get blurry as somehow Mr Suresh Kalmadi managed to convince PM Manmohan Singh later in the same year to have him as the Chairman, despite persistent opposition from the then Sports Ministers Sunil Dutt who should have been the chairman, as mentioned in Mr Dutt's letter to the PM.

Mani Shankar Aiyar, the sports minister to follow on Mr Sunil Dutt's death, had always made his opposition to Mr Kalmadi more than clear on more than one occasion.

 

Rahul Mehta, Supreme Court lawyer, dissects the issue on his Twitter timeline:

POSTED BY Buzz ON Aug 02, 2011 AT 21:39 IST ,  Edited At: Aug 02, 2011 21:39 IST
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Digression
10/D-163
Aug 08, 2011
11:40 PM

 When Corruption Singh talked about skeletons in closet, I had no idea he was referring to himself.

It now turns out that Kalmadi was appointed to the post OVER the objection of PMO. A new note that has surfaced makes this clear. PMO recommended Sunil Dutt. That was endorsed by the GoM headed by the PM. Later, the PM overrode this decision and appointed Kalmadi.

So it was Manmohan who insisted on Kalmadi-despite objections from his own PMO!! And we have to believe the reasons have nothing to do with pecuniary benefits. 

Now we know why Kalmadi was given a free hand to loot.

Ganesan
Nj, USA
9/D-155
Aug 08, 2011
10:51 PM

 Was the PM not exercising total control over the PMO? It is now public knowledge that he has been only a de jure PM. May be, things were beyond his hands even within his secretariat called the PMO ! May be the officer incharge of 2 G or CWG was/were acting supreme, which meant the PM & the PMO was kept at an arm's length.The PM is an intelligent person, who knows the political culture of his party much better than the loud mouths hogging the lime light. He knew, and accepted, the limitations imposed on him (when he was appointed prime minister) and the PMO. That might be the reason he witnessed daylight robbery of the exchequer but could say nothing-do nothing. If the CAG has done this unpleasant duty for him, he and his team should be complimented. The tragedy of India is that not everyone is prepared to call a spade a spade. The brouhaha by the corrupt and their advoctes, including ministers of the UPA, against the CAG is historic, for never before in the short history of constitutional democracy of India has the CAG been treated so disrespectfully by the ministers of the government. Can the media please educate us about the number of times: (1)the CAG was so disrespectfully berated by the government ministers, directly or indirectly;(2)the Speaker had refused to accept the report submitted by the chairman of the PAC; (3)The chairman of the PAC being criticised so awfully; (4)whether the Speaker has to accept the report submitted by the Chairman of a parliamentary committee including the PAC under the law and only the parliament alone is competent to take any decision on it;(5) the ethics of appointing the member of opposition only as the chairman of the PAC, which is the supreme watchdog of public finances and hence feared by the corrupt?

M.L.Gupta
New Delhi, India
8/D-211
Aug 03, 2011
10:45 PM

I don't understand.  If Kalmadi was appointed by NDA government and subsequently the UPA government could not do anything about it, then what was the point of Kalmadi trying to convince Manmohan Singh to appoint him (or even keep him)?  Kalmadi would have to request PM only if he could do something about it, wouln't it?

Congress's appologists like Mr. Vikas Khanna have been attackng BJP about Yeddurappa.  Now that he has been removed they harp on Reddy brothers. They keep attacking a tree while hiding the entire forest.

P.B. Joshipura
Suffolk, Virginia, United States
7/D-79
Aug 03, 2011
11:01 AM

It is not a coincidence that the plethora of financial scams plaguing the nation are taking place under an economist. Perhaps MMS, the 'eminent economist' that he is purported to be, got overconfident of managing the gargantuan scams.

K.Suresh
Bangalore, India
6/D-73
Aug 03, 2011
10:09 AM

 # 4 Ganesan, 

"...Singh is the most corrupt..."

Agreed.

BUT with a clause - that MMS allows every one else to make money, because only then can he not only cling on to power ( by buying votes ), but also carry through IDEOLOGICAL agendas - such as women reservation bill, etc..etc...

THEREFORE, WHILE THIS US-STOOGE IS IDEOLOGICALLY CORRUPT AND SCREWING THE COUNTRY, HE ALLOWS HIS HENCHMEN TO BE MONETARILY CORRUPT, AND LEAVE HIM TO HIS 'WORK'.

Male Unblocked
Chennai, India
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