CEO gave Rs.246 crore telecast rights to an illegal entity

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Nitin Gadkari on Thursday has demanded answers to 10 questions on the Commonwealth Games and the 2G spectrum allocation scam from the Prime Minister.

While nine questions pertain to the Commonwealth Games, Mr. Gadkari asked the Prime Minister why he could not answer a simple question about the lengthy delay on his part in taking a decision on a plea to sanction the prosecution of the former Telecom Minister, A. Raja, in the controversial 2G spectrum allocation issue.

With reference to the Games, he asked why no criminal action was initiated so far against the Prasar Bharti CEO B.S. Lalli, who overruled the objections by the Finance Department and gave the Rs.246-crore telecast rights of the Games to an illegal entity which produced a fake registration number and had no service tax number. “Is Mr. Lalli, who speedily paid out 80 per cent of the contract fee even before the Games concluded, being shielded because of his high connections,” he asked.

“It is astonishing that the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government  has so far maintained a studied silence over the findings of the Income Tax Department that the broadcast deal was bagged by a little-known U.K.-based company, SIS Live, which came into being in January 2010, four months after the bidding formalities were over,” Mr. Gadkari said.

Providing documentary proof, he said the Income Tax Department on October 6, 2010, wrote to the Prasar Bharati asking it to freeze all future payments while seeking attachment of the company's account in a Mumbai branch of the Royal Bank of Scotland. When I-T officials surveyed the SIS Live office in Delhi they found that the company had neither maintained accounts nor kept any bills. He alleged that SIS Live outsourced the work to a company, Zoom Communications, which was also found to be operating from the same premises in Okhla which was illegal.

He once again questioned the alleged connections of Kanishk Singh, a close aide of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, with the proprietors of the EMAAR MGF, the company which built “filthy” flats for the Games. Mr. Gadkari wanted to know at whose instance the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) paid a bailout package of Rs.750 crore and Rs.827 crore for the international zone? He said Kanishk Singh's grandfather was co-founder of EMAAR.

He asked the Prime Minister to explain the rationale behind the steep escalation in the provisions for the Games overlays. “Can you deny the fact that the provision of Rs.126 crore in the plan budget of the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports for overlays in the year 2009-10 was revised to Rs. 687 crore of which Rs.557 crore was given as an advance to the Organising Committee,” he asked.

He wanted to know who was responsible for approving an advance of Rs.1,669.42 crore to the Organising Committee for sporting events and another Rs.687 crore for overlays (temporary fittings and fixtures etc.) of which Rs.557 crore was actually disbursed, and another Rs.87 crore as grant for Timing, Scoring and Results Systems (TSR) and Games Timing Equipment of which Rs.81 crore was actually disbursed.

He said there were no earnings from advertisements and the sale of tickets had generated only Rs.39.17 crore, while sponsorship of Rs.114.5 crore  was received as against the contracted value of Rs.375 crore and in granting the international TV rights Rs.137.71 crore was received against the contracted value of Rs. 213.45 crore. He said there was a dismal turnout for the Games and only half of the 11.5 lakh tickets printed were bought by spectators.

He demanded action against “against the political masters who connived in the CWG loot.”  According to the Sports Minister, 14 meetings of the Group of Ministers (GoM) were held under the chairmanship of the Human Resource Development Minister from March 22, 2007 and another 34 meetings were held under the chairmanship of the Urban Development Minister from June 23, 2009 till the Games.  He said Rs.300 crore was allocated to the Delhi University for the Games project which was handed over to a contractor. The work was hardly worth a few crores of rupees. Where has the money gone, he asked.

He said the nation wanted an answer on the irregularities and corruption to the tune of crores of rupees relating to the Queen's Baton Relay, sponsorship, the games website, tennis surfaces, catering, merchandising, accreditation for 22,000 volunteers, etc.

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