For “criminal conspiracy” to award TSR contract to Swiss firm

The CBI on Tuesday got eight-day custody of the former Commonwealth Games Organising Committee chairman and suspended Congress leader, Suresh Kalmadi, along with two other former Organising Committee (OC) officials from a special court here for their alleged involvement in the “criminal conspiracy” to award the Games' Timing, Scoring and Results system contract to a Swiss company.

The investigating agency had sought 14 days custody of Mr. Kalmadi; the former Joint Director-General (Sports) of the OC, A.S.V. Prasad; and the former Deputy Director-General (Procurement), Surjit Lal; from Special Judge (CBI) Talwant Singh.

In its remand application, the CBI said the accused, in conspiracy with others, abused their official position and “awarded the contract to Swiss Timing at an exorbitant rate of approximately Rs.107 crore, in a most wrongful manner, restricting and eliminating all competition, causing wrongful loss to the Government of India and corresponding wrongful gain to Swiss Timing.”

The agency claimed that a number of documents had been obtained through seizures during search and “otherwise.” During the relevant period Mr. Kalmadi, Mr. Lal and Mr. Prasad were the “main functionaries and key personnel” in the OC and “were deeply involved and instrumental in allotment of the TSR contract to Swiss Timing in a pre-planned and premeditated manner.”

The remand application stated that the trio was “evasive and non-cooperative and not revealing the true facts and circumstances of the criminal conspiracy” which led to the award of the contract in a “wrongful manner.”

The CBI said the accused were needed to be confronted with each other and subjected to “sustained custodial interrogation” to reveal the names and roles of other associates/beneficiaries, “ascertain the money trail of the ill-gotten amount” and the modus operandi adopted.

The agency said the accused had to be confronted and questioned on “voluminous documents recovered from their official/residential premises.” A number of documents were highly technical in nature and involve complicated financial transactions.

Counsel for Mr. Kalmadi rebutted the allegation that Mr. Kalmadi took the decision on the TSR contract noting that the file had been vetted by different committees and that “it was a matter of record that the ultimate decision in the matter was taken by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports under Mr. M. S. Gill.”

The timing of Mr. Kalmadi's arrest on Monday was recorded by the CBI as 4.30 p.m. which came in for criticism from his counsel who said news channels were carrying scrolls of his arrest since 11.30 a.m.

Other senior former OC officials Lalit Bhanot and V.K. Verma are in judicial custody at the Tihar Central Jail here in connection with their alleged role in awarding the TSR contract.