The Bharatiya Janata Party on Tuesday pointed the finger at the Prime Minister's Office for “sanctioning funds” to the Organising Committee (OC) for the Commonwealth Games, “overlooking cost escalations” and serious discrepancies in project reports.
BJP president Nitin Gadkari alleged that gigantic corruption had taken place with costs escalating 17 times the original estimates. Even as he was addressing the press, detailing specific instances of corruption already reported by the media, the ‘breaking news' of the day was Income Tax raids on the business and other premises of BJP man Sudhanshu Mittal, who, together with his associates, had bagged several hundred crores worth of contracts from the OC.
Mr. Gadkari was repeatedly asked what action his party would take against BJP workers or leaders found guilty of corruption. His response was: “I have already said whoever is involved, let him be investigated. Let the government raid those it thinks are guilty… if a BJP member is found involved in any scam, we will take strong action.”
Mr. Gadkari suggested a two-tier investigation into the CWG-related corruption: a joint parliamentary committee could look at the role of various Ministries and the PMO, and a high-power panel, headed by the Cabinet Secretary, could ensure that various agencies involved in the CWG work submitted themselves to a probe by this committee.
He pointed out that the 35-member OC included Cabinet Minister Kapil Sibal and young Congressmen Rahul Gandhi, Jyotiraditya Scindia, Sandeep Dikshit and Jitin Prasad as its members. The BJP's Vijay Goel had consistently submitted dissent notes on decisions taken, Mr. Gadkari said.
Defending Vijay Kumar Malhotra, Leader of the Opposition in the Delhi Assembly, the BJP president said he did not have the power to sanction “even one rupee.”
At the same time, Mr. Gadkari mentioned the Shunglu Committee already set up by the Centre for a thorough investigation and the ongoing inquiries by the Central Bureau of Investigation, the Central Vigilance Commission, the Comptroller and Auditor-General and Revenue Intelligence. “All these inquiries must be expedited to reach some logical conclusion at the earliest so that the guilty can be punished without any further delay,” he said, suggesting the BJP's approval of these measures.
Mr. Gadkari claimed that the party had gathered a lot of evidence of corruption and would place this material before the JPC if and when it was instituted.