Intensifying its probe into allegations of financial irregularities and wrongdoings during the conduct and organisation of the Commonwealth Games in the Capital, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Friday searched residences and official premises of CWG Organising Committee chairman Suresh Kalmadi in Delhi, Mumbai and Pune.
The CBI move to conduct simultaneous raids in three cities on Mr. Kalmadi’s residences and offices came about a month after the agency registered three FIRs for alleged offences of forgery of court records and public documents, criminal conspiracy and corruption and cheating in awarding some contracts for CWG 2010. The agency has already made three arrests while probing the CWG scam.
The agency also searched the premises of Mr. Kalmadi’s personal secretary Manoj Bhure in Pune, his farm house at Khadakwasla near Pune and the "Sai Service" petrol station owned by him in Pune.
Mr. Kalmadi, who was removed as Secretary of the Congress Parliamentary Party recently, was also questioned about some documents during the searches, official sources said. After the searches, the agency called his close aide Shekhar for questioning to its headquarters here, the sources said.
"CBI on Friday carried out search of the office and residences of the Chairman of the OC of CWG 2010 and his personal secretary in Delhi, Pune and Mumbai as part of the ongoing investigation into the allegation of award of video installation work for the Queen's Baton Relay to a London-based private firm at inflated rates," Vineeta Thakur, CBI spokesperson and a Deputy Inspector General (DIG), told reporters here. Several documents recovered during searches were being scrutinised, she added.
Mr. Kalmadi could be called for questioning soon after the CBI officials complete scrutiny of documents and analyse data stored in disks of computers and laptops, the sources indicated.
After the searches, Mr. Kalmadi maintained that he had not taken any decision alone. "All decisions have been taken by the Executive Board,’’ he told reporters even as he faced a volley of questions.
"I am innocent till proven guilty. You (media) are all pronouncing me guilty," he said adding that he had assured complete cooperation to the CBI. Mr. Kalmadi said that CBI teams had also searched his brother's place in Mumbai.
The Congress MP said the OC was given a budget of Rs. 1,500 crore which is "four to five per cent of the total budget" for the Games and "we have by way of revenue generated Rs.700 crore from the 11-day sporting extravaganza.
The CBI had also searched the residences of OC Director General V. K. Verma and another key OC official Lalit Bhanot on November 30.
While one case is related to a Rs. 107-crore deal struck with a Swiss score keeping firm, the two other FIRs were lodged in connection with the contract given to AM Films for the Baton Relay ceremonies by the OC in London.
The CBI had arrested OC's Joint Director General T.S. Darbari, Deputy Director General Sanjay Mohindroo and former treasurer Jayachandran for their alleged complicity in these deals.