‘They caused wrongful loss to government, wrongful gain to Swiss Timing’
Commonwealth Games Organising Committee's (OC) former Secretary-General Lalit Bhanot and former Director-General V. K. Verma were remanded in five days Central Bureau of Investigation custody by a court here on Thursday in connection with the award of the Timing, Scoring and Results (TSR) system contract to Swiss Timing Pvt. Ltd. at an “exorbitant rate” of Rs.107 crore .
The CBI arrested them on Wednesday evening.
The CBI, in its remand application, said the contract was awarded “in a most wrongful manner, restricting/eliminating all competition, thereby causing wrongful loss to the Government of India and corresponding wrongful gain to Swiss Timing.”
The provisions under which the duo were charged with include Sections 120B (criminal conspiracy), read with 420 (cheating) of the Indian Penal Code, and Section 13(2), read with 13(1)(d) of the Prevention of Corruption Act.
The remand application states that Mr. Bhanot and Mr. Verma were among the main functionaries and key personnel in the OC and “deeply involved and instrumental in allotment of the TSR contract to Swiss Timing in a pre-planned and pre-meditated manner at exorbitant rates.”
The investigating agency said various incriminating documents regarding their role had been collected and it needed to get names of others involved in the crime.
The main thrust of the argument of counsel for Mr. Bhanot and Mr. Verma was that they were only a part of the OC, which had several other members and that the vetting of the Swiss Timing bid for the TSR contract was done and approved by a number of technical and financial companies.
Senior advocates Ramesh Gupta and Aman Lekhi, appearing for Mr. Bhanot and Mr. Verma respectively, were critical of the First Information Report registered by the CBI on November 29, 2010, which they said did not list correctly the lengthy process that was followed to award the contract to Swiss Timing and how M/S MSL Spain, the only other bidder, lost out.
Keywords: Commonwealth Games corruption