Prime Minister takes serious view of the first report submitted by the panel probing the CWG scam

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has taken a “serious view” of the first report submitted by the Shunglu Committee, appointed to investigate the Commonwealth Games scam, and has directed Cabinet Secretary K.M. Chandrasekhar to recommend follow-up action within a week, so that exemplary action can be taken against the wrongdoers.

This comes a day after the Shunglu committee submitted to the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) the first of its reports on the financial irregularities committed by the various ministries and agencies responsible for the Commonwealth Games that were held in Delhi last year. This report, which deals with the award of broadcasting rights for the Commonwealth Games, was also made public on Tuesday.

Seriousness

The seriousness with which the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government has taken this report was demonstrated by the fact that the PMO issued a press release expressing its concern and the action it proposed to take. The release also mentions that the “Chief Executive Officer of the Prasar Bharati Shri B. S. Lalli has already been suspended by the government.” Of those indicted by the Shunglu Report, Mr Lalli's name figures prominently.

According to the report, Prasar Bharati manipulated the broadcast contracts so as to cause losses of Rs.135 crore. It also says that there was a clear nexus among SIS LIVE, Zoom and Prasar Bharati, and has held Mr. Lalli and Doordarshan Director General Aruna Sharma responsible for the alleged financial irregularities.

Panel gets time till March

Meanwhile, government sources added that the Shunglu Committee has been given time till the end of March to complete its work: when it was set up on October 25 last year, it was given a three-month term. The reports that are yet to come will deal with the roles of the Organising Committee, the Union Ministry of Urban Development, the Union Ministry of Sports and Youth Affairs and the Delhi Government. Since the committee was set up, the Union Ministers for Urban Development and Youth and Sports have changed, with the departure of S. Jaipal Reddy to the Petroleum Ministry and M.S. Gill to the Statistics and Programme Implementation Ministry respectively.

Demonstrable action

Clearly, the UPA government is keen to demonstrate action ahead of the budget session of Parliament, which starts on February 21, with the Opposition continuing to pillory it daily on a range of scams. The government, sources said, cannot afford to have a repeat of the winter session which was washed out by a virtual boycott by the Opposition.

Keywords: CWG scam

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