Artificial siege-like situation served as cover for cost inflation, irregularities during Commonwealth Games
In a severe indictment of the Organising Committee (OC) headed by Congress MP Suresh Kalmadi, the Delhi government and other State and Union agencies, the Comptroller and Auditor-General of India (CAG) has said hundreds of crores of rupees were wasted because of lax supervision and a deliberately created siege-like situation in the run-up to the 2010 Commonwealth Games.
In its 700-page audit report on CWG 2010 tabled in Parliament on Friday, the CAG stated: “The modus operandi observed over the entire gamut of activities leading to the conduct of the Games was: inexplicable delays in decision-making, which put pressure on timelines and thereby led to the creation of an artificial or consciously created sense of urgency.”
Providing an insight into the mentality with which the OC, the Delhi government and other agencies were approaching the conduct of games, it said: “Since the target date was immovable, such delays could only be overcome by seeking, and liberally granting, waivers in laid-down governmental procedures. In doing so, contracting procedures became a very obvious casualty. Many contracts were then entertained based on single bids, and in fact, some of them were even awarded on nomination basis.”
“Taking liberties with governmental procedures of the aforementioned kind led to elimination of competition. A conclusion from such action which seems obvious is that this could indeed have even been an intended objective! Eliminating competition led to huge avoidable extra burden on the exchequer,” the CAG said in its report.
It further stated that there was a seven-year window from the award of CWG-2010 to Delhi in November 2003 to its hosting in October 2010, which was not appropriately utilised. “The time window from November 2003 to mid-2006, which could have been effectively used for planning, clearances and approvals, was wasted. The OC itself was registered only in February 2005,” it said.
It said overall planning for the Games, including the general organisation plan, the Games Master Schedule, and the operational plans for different functional areas, was also substantially delayed. So was the detailed planning for state-of-the-art city infrastructure in time for CWG-2010. “The internal control environment and decision-making structures within the OC were highly inadequate. The state of documentation in the OC was so inadequate that we are unable to derive assurance as to either the authenticity or the completeness of records.”
The overlays contracts were signed at exorbitant rates, causing huge financial loss to the OC and the Union government. “Although we cannot fully quantify the true total loss [based on available records], we have, however, come up with indicators of the financial loss in different ways [by inter se comparison of item-wise rates across clusters and vendors as well as rates declared to Customs],” the report said.