After several rounds of quizzing over the past few months, the Central Bureau of Investigation on Monday arrested the then Chairman of the Organising Committee (OC) of the Commonwealth Games 2010, Suresh Kalmadi, for alleged conspiracy in awarding a contract for the Games to a Swiss company at an inflated cost of Rs. 141 crore.
Mr. Kalmadi, Congress MP from Pune, was put under arrest after his grilling at the CBI headquarters that began in the morning and continued well past noon. CBI officials had questioned him earlier on three occasions in connection with the alleged irregularities related to the award of contract for the Timing-Scoring and Result (TSR) system to Swiss Timekeeping.
“It is alleged that officials of the Organising Committee had conspired with representatives of the private firm in Switzerland and the contract for timing, scoring, result was awarded by wrongfully restricting and eliminating competition from other suppliers in a pre-meditated and planned manner. Investigation has revealed that the committee for shortlisting prospective bidders for TSR was constituted by selecting handpicked officials,” CBI spokesperson Dharini Mishra said in a statement.
“Investigation has also revealed that members of the tenders evaluation committee were coerced and threatened to disqualify other bidders… that Indian representatives of the favoured supplier were in regular contact with the three arrested Organising Committee officials much before the award of tender. Wrongful loss of approximately Rs. 95 crores was caused to the public exchequer,” the statement said.
OC secretary-general Lalit Bhanot and director-general V.K. Verma have already been arrested by the CBI in this case and are lodged in Delhi's Central Jail, Tihar.
The CBI has so far registered eight cases of which three are related to restoration work of two sporting venues, two are related to Queen Baton's relay, while one each is related to overlays, contract given to Swiss Time Keeping, and contract given to SIS live for coverage of the Games.
Even before the sporting extravaganza began in October last year in Delhi, allegations of corrupt practices, delayed execution of work related to various stadia, misappropriation of funds and incompetence had started doing the rounds.
Mr. Kalmadi had repeatedly denied any wrongdoing,maintaining that he was not the sole person involved in the decision-making process.