UPA had no role in his appointment

The Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government on Friday clarified that it had no role in appointment of Suresh Kalmadi as Commonwealth Games Organising Committee (OC) Chairman.

Referring to the Comptroller and Auditor-General of India (CAG) report on the CWG Games 2010 stating that Mr. Suresh Kalmadi's appointment was based on a PMO recommendation, it said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh could not remove Mr. Kalmadi as the government was bound by an international contractual agreement.

Union Sports Minister Ajay Maken said Mr. Kalmadi, who is now in Tihar Jail for his alleged involvement in corruption in organising the Games, was elected to the post by the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) as per the ‘Host City Contract' approved by the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance government and “there was no scope for any change.”

“As per the Host City Contract signed on November 13, 2003 by the IOA, Delhi's Lieutenant Governor and the then Sports Secretary, it was the Commonwealth Games Association - IOA in case of India - which was to establish the OC to organise the Games. When an international contract is signed by a secretary to the Government of India, there was no scope for any change,” Mr. Maken said. He also pointed out that the Cabinet of the NDA government in September, 2003 had also agreed to underwrite any shortfall between revenue and expenditure of OC.

Mr. Maken said in November 2004, the IOA resolved to elect its president Suresh Kalmadi as the CWG OC Chairman. The objections raised by then Sports Minister Sunil Dutt before the Prime Minister on November 14, 2004 over Mr. Kalmadi's appointment were examined by the PMO. The PMO examined the objection in the light of the decisions of a Group of Ministers (GoM) headed by then Human Resource Development Minister Arjun Singh, the provisions of the Host City Contract and the institutional structure adopted by India during 1982 Asian Games.

“After such examination, a suggested institutional structure consisting of a GoM, an apex committee under the Sports Minister, an OC and an executive board under the chairmanship of president of IOA was sent by PMO for the consideration of GoM.”

The GoM, which included Mr. Dutt, met on January 29, 2005 decided on the institutional structure consisting of apex committee headed by the Sports Minister, OC headed by IOA president Mr. Kalmadi and a three-member sub-committee of the GoM headed by then Finance Minister P. Chidambaram. The PMO accepted the arrangement decided by the GoM, he said.

“The suggestion, therefore, that the decision to appoint Mr. Kalmadi as OC chairman facilitated the conversion of the originally envisaged government-owned OC into a body outside government control is incorrect,” Mr. Maken said.

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