BJP's poser: How UPA allowed Kalmadi to be CWG OC chairman instead of government nominee?

The crux of the problem in Commonwealth Games 2010, senior Bharatiya Janata Party leaders Yashwant Sinha and Arun Jaitley alleged on Monday, was that the United Progressive Alliance allowed the Indian Olympic Association nominee Suresh Kalmadi to be the Organising Committee (OC) Chairman, instead of a government nominee, on the basis of a “forged” updated contract.

The BJP leaders said the “forged” contract for the Games “surfaced mysteriously” in September 2004 — during the UPA regime — although it is dated December 2003, when the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government was in power. Of course, the UPA maintains that the document is indeed dated December 2003, and the BJP must explain its presence in government files.

It was through this “forged document”, the BJP said, that Mr. Kalmadi practically “hijacked the Commonwealth Games as chairman of the Organising Committee.”

It would seem from their separate statements to reporters on Monday that both Mr. Sinha and Mr. Jaitley were unaware that their colleague Mr. Malhotra had in 2004 protested against UPA efforts to have a government nominee as OC chairman.

The UPA's argument is that after it decided that Sunil Dutt should be OC chairman, it found that it could not implement this decision because of the “updated contract of December 2003” that had put the government in a bind since that stipulated that a nominee of the IOA (who was Mr. Kalmadi) would be chairman and a government nominee could only be vice-chairman.

A few days ago, Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley summoned Vikram Verma, the NDA government's Sports Minister in 2003-04, to his office in Parliament House and grilled him for over an hour about the “updated contract.” Mr. Verma pleaded complete innocence and total ignorance of the “updated contract.”

But what seems to have given the BJP game away are the statements made by the party's then deputy leader of the Lok Sabha V.K. Malhotra, who strongly opposed a government nominee as OC chairman. His plea was in fact for an IOA nominee, that is for Mr. Kalmadi, who he had proposed for the chairman's position.

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