Ousted Commonwealth Games (CWG) Organising Committee chief Suresh Kalmadi on Saturday reiterated his innocence and stated that the CBI had found nothing in its raids.
Addressing party workers at the Congress Bhavan here, the Pune MP said: “CBI officials came to my house, my offices in Pune, Mumbai and Delhi. But what have they found? Only what is recorded in income tax returns filed by me. They have found nothing against me.”
Mr. Kalmadi has been under the CBI scanner for several months now, in connection with the alleged misappropriation of CWG funds.
Dismissing reports that he had gone ‘into hiding,' he said, “I don't need to run from anyone. I will make people run.”
“Everything is okay. I will cooperate with the CBI in any enquiry,” Mr. Kalmadi said. “I will not do anything that will bring disgrace to Pune,” he said, while adding that the Games had been successful, and had brought world class infrastructure to New Delhi.
The statement comes on the day when the Congress suffered a major defeat in the Pune Municipal Corporation's election for the Standing Committee Chairman. In a surprising turn of events, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) broke away from the NCP-Congress alliance and voted for Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate Ganesh Bidkar, leading him to a safe victory.
The BJP candidate got nine votes: five from the NCP, one from the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) and three from his own party (BJP), while the Congress candidate only got five votes from his party.
Mr. Kalmadi's appearance on Saturday was a bid to restore faith in the Congress members, who were visibly shaken by the NCP move. “This was unexpected and unfortunate,” City Congress president Abhay Chhajed said.
“The NCP can go to any limits for power. But we are here for Pune: for its development,” Mr. Kalmadi said.
The apparent switch by the NCP suggests a major change of coalition partners in the State. Earlier, the Shiv Sena, miffed at the BJP for not consulting them on the choice of a candidate had decided not to vote. “We need to rethink about the coalition with the BJP now,” Shiv Sena MLA Neelam Gorhe stated.