Top CWG Organising Committee officials, including its chairman Suresh Kalmadi, had decided to award the contract for Timing, Scoring and Result (TSR) system to Swiss company Omega much before the firm had applied for the same, a senior civil servant has told the CBI.
Rahul Bhatnagar, currently working as Joint Secretary (International Sports Division) in Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, told the CBI that top OC officials in the General Assembly of Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) in 2009 had declared that the tender for TSR system would be awarded to Swiss Timing Omega.
“The General Assembly of CGF was held on October 12, 2009 when the said declaration was made by V.K. Verma (OC Director General) in the General Assembly, and the tender for TSR was on.
“In the video recordings (of CGF general assembly 2009), after the opening speech by Suresh Kalmadi, Verma is seen declaring that TSR will be provided by Swiss Timing,” Bhatnagar, a witness in the TSR case, said in his statement which has been a part of the charge sheet filed in the court of special CBI judge Talwant Singh.
According to the charge sheet filed by CBI on May 20, the accused allegedly awarded the lucrative contract to the Swiss firm to install a Timing-Scoring-Result (TSR) system for the Commonwealth Games at an exorbitant cost, causing a loss of over Rs. 90 crore to the exchequer.
Besides Kalmadi, the agency has named two companies and eight persons, including OC former Secretary General Lalit Bhanot and former Director General V.K. Verma as accused and sought their prosecution under various provisions of the IPC, dealing with criminal conspiracy, forging documents and using fake documents as genuine.
The request for proposal (RFP) for TSR was issued on October 1, 2009 and the last date for submission of tenders was October 31, 2009, which was then extended to November 4, 2009.
“It is seen that the bid of Swiss Timing and of MSL (Spanish firm) for TSR were submitted on November 4, 2011. Only two bids are shown to have been received. Thus, not a single bid had even been received till the time when the said declaration was made by Verma in the CGF General Assembly on October 12, 2009,” Bhatnagar said.
He added that Swiss Timing had not even made a bid till that time and thus it was not even known whether it will bid or not.
Bhanot and OC Joint Director General (Sports) A.S.V. Prasad, who are currently lodged in Tihar Jail along with Kalmadi and others, had also pressed for giving the contract to Swiss Timing, he said.
Bhatnagar also said that during all the interactions on the subject of TSR, the message from the top management of OC to the stakeholders, to the government bodies or to outsiders was that “OC will be working with Swiss Timing Omega only”.
He also mentioned in his statement that though OC was formed in 2005, yet there was no planning, delegation of powers, no finalisation of procurement process for vital items.
“It is clear that there was a deliberate delay on the part of OC and citing shortage of time and national prestige being at stake, they were pressing through their decisions in deviation from established rules, regulations and norms. In this situation it was impossible to take drastic remedial action on part of the government,” Bhatnagar told CBI.