“No mechanism in my office to look into all minute details”

Contrary to the impression that the former Sports Minister, Mani Shankar Aiyar, had forewarned the government about the Commonwealth Games mess, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said on Wednesday that Mr. Aiyar did not bring to his notice any wrongdoing and the opposition was purely on “ideological grounds.''

“…you have also written Mr. [T.N.] Ninan [Business Standard Editor] that our friend Mani Shankar Aiyar wrote to me, but he wrote to me on purely ideological grounds [that] he was opposed to hosting the Commonwealth Games,'' Dr. Singh said, during his interaction with editors here.

When one of them interjected and sought to state that the objection was about the budget for the Games, Dr. Singh pointed out that the outlay for the event was the responsibility of the Sports Ministry, which had to bring it before the Cabinet.

The Prime Minister said there was no mechanism available in his office to look into all minute details and re-emphasised that while Mr. Aiyar wrote many letters to him the “bulk of the letters were all on ideological aspects of spending so much money on the Commonwealth Games…nothing he brought [before] me [said] anything that was wrong. At one stage, I did get worried, I did get reports but at that stage we put some officials under Jarnail Singh to keep a watch. The question is how effective was that supervision…''

Dr. Singh said the agreement to host the Games was signed in 2003, when the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance government was in power, and the bulk of the expenditure on the event was incurred before the 2009 Lok Sabha elections.

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