CWG: Sports Ministers Warned PM on OC, Kalmadi

New Delhi
CWG: Sports Ministers Warned PM on OC, Kalmadi
Three Union Sports Ministers, who held charge since 2004, had repeatedly warned Prime Minister Manmohan Singh against the structure and working of Commonwealth Games Organizing Committee and its chief Suresh Kalmadi, letters accessed by an RTI activist reveal.

While late Sunil Dutt had said that the Organizing Committee should be headed by a "Government nominee" like Sports Minister, his successor Mani Shanker Aiyar had criticized it for "squandering" money and M S Gill had said that the Executive Committee of the OC "rarely" met and endorsed "post facto decisions taken in highly centralized manner".

Letters written by these Sports Ministers have been made public in an RTI reply to activist S C Agrawal.

In 2004, when the structure of the Organizing Committee was to be finalized, the then Sports Minister Sunil Dutt had written to the Prime Minister saying he was surprised by the Indian Olympic Association resolution appointing its chief Suresh Kalmadi as Chairman of Organizing Committee saying it was "at variance" with the decision of the GoM.

He had claimed that IOA was "aware" that GoM had agreed to appoint Sports Minister as OC Chairman for preparation of conduct and preparation of the Games.

Dutt had alleged that minutes of group of ministers meeting issued by Cabinet Secretariat do not reflect the decisions taken during the meeting on "various aspects of composition of Organizing Committee".

The notes made on the letter mention "PM has seen" and later an acknowledgment was also sent to Dutt by the Prime Minister.

His successor Aiyar, in his letters to the Prime Minister, had highlighted that the OC was "squandering" money by appointing consultants with cost of up to 5,000 US Dollars per day and providing Rs two crore farm house and monthly first class air ticket to Mike Hooper of Commonwealth Games Federation.

Aiyar highlighted that unlike 1982 Asian Games Special Organizing Committee which had "powerful public-minded representatives" like Rajiv Gandhi, the present Organizing Committee is "packed with yes men (and a few yes-women)".

He said OC Chairman had "dictatorial powers" as there was "no one of influence to press for an alternative option".

"Without a drastic overhaul of both the Executive Board and Organizing Committee for the Commonwealth Games, I fear it will prove to be practically impossible for the Government to significantly address the excesses of Chairman Suresh Kalmadi and his cohorts," Aiyar had warned in October 2007, three years ahead of the Games.
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