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Updated: August 12, 2011 12:30 IST

NDA government blamed for appointing Kalmadi

Sujay Mehdudia
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Union Minister for Sports and Youth Affairs, Ajay Maken, arrives at Parliament House to attend the monsoon session on Tuesday.
PTI Union Minister for Sports and Youth Affairs, Ajay Maken, arrives at Parliament House to attend the monsoon session on Tuesday.

UPA in damage control mode after another CAG report

Faced with embarrassment in the form of another Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report on the Commonwealth Games 2010, the government on Tuesday hit back and blamed the Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government for the appointment of Congress MP Suresh Kalmadi as Chairman of the CWG Organising Committee. In a damage control exercise, Minister of State for Sports and Youth Affairs Ajay Maken made a suo motu statement in the Lok Sabha on the issue. He said that the CAG report had not been officially tabled in Parliament and he was not in a position to comment on its contents.

The statement comes on the heels of media reports that despite the recommendations of the Group of Ministers, the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) chose to nominate Mr. Kalmadi as chairman of the Organising Committee. However, the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government maintained that the door for this was opened by the previous NDA government.

Mr. Maken blamed that government for having signed the Host City contract — bypassing the Delhi government — which led to all kinds of problems and chaos in the run-up to the Games.

Mr. Maken's speech was interrupted frequently by agitated Opposition members. The Chair asked Mr. Maken to lay the statement on the table.

Putting up a spirited defence, Mr. Maken, while speaking outside the House, said the current PMO led by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had nothing to do with the appointment of Mr. Kalmadi as chairman. “There were only two options — either to scrap the CWG or to go with the Host City contract, which was signed by the NDA regime in November 2003.”

The Minister said the CWG management protocol clearly stated that the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) shall form the Organising Committee.

No other option

“When the protocol gave all powers to the IOA to form the OC, then there was no other option. Second, the Host City contract should have been signed by the City government, Delhi government in this case. It should have been passed by the city Cabinet, Delhi Cabinet in this case,” he said..

The Minister questioned the approval, by the Cabinet of the NDA government, of the contract, which was signed by the then Sports Secretary. “Once it was signed by the Union government, it was binding on the Union government which could not have gone back [on it],” Mr. Maken said.

Lashing out at the Opposition for making a hue and cry over the issue, he said members of these very political parties were part of the General Assembly of the IOA which elected Mr. Kalmadi. “All Opposition parties who are making a hue and cry now, they were part of that. They were members of the General Assembly on November 1, 2004 even before Mr. Kalmadi was appointed Chairman of OC by the Union government,” the Minister said.

“The IOA General Assembly had passed [a resolution] and recommended that Mr. Kalmadi should be appointed the OC chairman by all these people cutting across party lines. So, I think, the BJP or the NDA should first look at their own record. It was decided during their time,” he said.

“By one stroke, it took away from the Union government any residual, amending or discretionary powers that could have been exercised in emergent situations to salving any wrongdoings,” he said.

Mr. Maken charged the NDA government with failure to scrutinise and thoroughly verify the contract and said any viable alternative to the provisions was neither explored nor suggested.

The Minister maintained that by not making the Delhi government a signatory to the contract, the Union government directly stepped into providing the letter of support for the bid to host the CWG in Delhi and meet the deficit between revenue and expenditure fully without any budgetary constraint.

“The CAG report is not officially out and I do not even know what its contents are. I am sure all these things would be debated in the Public Accounts Committee (PAC).”

The CAG report blames the PMO for putting up Kalmadi. So, it is a question of whose PMO. If the minister is correct, it was the NDAs. Even so, I can't see what was wrong in the decision. As if anyone could predict then, that Kalmadi would turn out as he has !

from:  Preetam
Posted on: Aug 8, 2011 at 20:11 IST

Kalmadi is a Congress MP and BJP(NDA)appointed him, is Maken telling us that Manmohan Singh, Sonia Gandhi and others in Congress knew that Kalmadi is corrupt ? In that case why Congress did not replaced him with some one else ?

from:  YD
Posted on: Aug 8, 2011 at 03:55 IST

As I understand, the CAG report was about financial irregularities in the Games, not ministerial appointments. The UPA response is no response at all. It is a filibustering effort to stall the Opposition's political gains. But my point lies on a broader scale. In the Egyptian revolution, in response to a curfew at Tahrir Square, some youths replied: 'What curfew? We own the country'. This is the sense that's lacking in India. UPA ploys work because the Indian mass doesn't have this proud association with the country. Politicians aren't dangerous beasts sprung out of nowhere to destroy the country. They come from among us, only they seized some opportunity we didn't. And they prosper illegally because WE DO NOT CARE! Condemning the class (mostly in the foulest of terms) serves no purpose. We have to unite and show them that we will not tolerate arrant nonsense any longer. Not a few thousands in Delhi, but in every village and town, township and city, all across Bharat Mata.

from:  Aritra Gupta
Posted on: Aug 6, 2011 at 06:22 IST

Even though he was appointed by NDA, but Mr. Kalmadi committed fraud only during the tenure of UPA, knowing fully well that he had the backing of the higher-ups.

from:  Nikhil
Posted on: Aug 5, 2011 at 22:01 IST

I don't understand this at all.. the main issue as per my understanding is the corruption during CWG... There has to be an independent body appointed by PM to keep eye on all the spendings and decisions taken. How can Congress put blame on opposition as Kalmadi was in congress when he was chosen IOA president...Also congress should have taken lessons from Formula one 2007 discrepancies done by Mr Kalmadi... The allegations by ruling pary are totally absurd and congress should take the responsibility of all the corruption that has occured during CWG.

from:  Nitin Prakash
Posted on: Aug 3, 2011 at 12:04 IST

I wish Mr. Maken give some credit to the common sense of the people of India. He wants us swallow the fantastic claim that because NDA took certain decisions years before the Common Wealth Game the present regime allowed the looting to go unchecked! People knows fully well that the present UPA dispension is wholly responsible for the astounding level of scams rocking the country. No amount of cleaver splitting words will cut ice with the people. They are waiting with impatience fury to throw out the crooked and powerful who are occupying corridors of power. Better these 'too clever' leaders draw lessons from elections results of Tamil Nadu.

from:  N.G. Krishnan
Posted on: Aug 3, 2011 at 11:21 IST

Highly laughable statement by the Sports Minister. Even if its true that NDA appointed / nominated Kalmadi, they did not ask him to be corrupt. Mr. Maken should realise that such childish statements are not going to fool the public.

from:  KSM Sundaram
Posted on: Aug 3, 2011 at 11:03 IST

Kalamadi was appointed by NDA does not mean you stick with him for ever. He was doing the bidding for Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi in CWG and therefore the current Govt, is responsible for his actions. When newspapers in India were clamouring for his neck; because of his corrupt ways; it was Manmohan Singh who was ignoring it. Singh was the PM; subordinates were his responsibility. Kalam was also selected by NDA. How convenient was it for Sonia and Singh to replace him with a woman who has a dubious past. In case of problem; she will be a usefull ally rather a neutral decider. God save us from these weird arguments.

from:  Ravindra Nath
Posted on: Aug 3, 2011 at 06:40 IST

Ajay Maken has answered the charges level against Suresh Kalmadi.The probe of the scam must be against BJP Leaders who were ruling at that time. Ajay Maken would not have made the statement with out the approval of superiors of his party.This shows the ' seriousness' of the Government to get the truth of this great scam. India's image has been affected so badly in the world, it will take years to repair the damage.

from:  Narayanan Krishnan
Posted on: Aug 3, 2011 at 05:43 IST

This UPA government shamelessly blames the BJP for every mess, fraud, scam,illegalities that it has nurtured because by doing so it thinks the public would be fooled.Granted that it was the NDA which signed the Host City contract.But it was the UPA which when it tabled the bill restricting the tenure of the IOA and other sports bodies' officials to 12 years,buckled under pressure from the IOC.This government should have told the IOC to go fly a kite and stop dictating terms or threatening a sovereign government with sanctions.It should have gone ahead with the bill and kicked Kalmadi out.Even now it is not too late.We don't need to be told by any body what rules we should apply when that body,IOC itself has restricted the tenure of the Chairman.Caught in a cleft stick and unable to defend itself when it has all these years been regularizing all illegalities,turning a blind eye to scams perpetrated by its ministers and condoning them by quoting coalition compulsions.

from:  Raj Kumar
Posted on: Aug 3, 2011 at 04:17 IST

In other words Mr.Maken and the Congress Party knew all along that Mr Kalmadi was not to be trusted with the crown jewels, yet they were happy to have him in the party and the parliament.

from:  Mani Sandilya
Posted on: Aug 3, 2011 at 04:15 IST
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