A major scam hit the Commonwealth Games on Friday with allegations being made that a substantial sum of money was transferred to a little known U.K. company from the Games Organising Committee (OC) about which the British government has raised questions.
Television channels reported that over £ 4.50 lakh were transferred through a British bank to the A M Films company, said to be a one man show and which was also receiving £ 25,000 a month.
‘Times Now' quoted documents to show that the entire deal came to light when the OC asked for a VAT refund of £ 14,000 in March this year for the payments made to the British company.
The channel quoted a letter of the British Revenue and Customs Department to the Indian High Commission stating that there was no written contract between the CWG and A M Films and that no tendering procedure had been followed and there was no paper work regarding the contract.
The OC is reported to have made a payment of nearly £2.5 lakh for video equipment purchase while A M Films had claimed that it provided services of car hire, makeshift toilets, barriers and electricity.
Indian High Commission sources said the information provided by the U.K. authorities had been forwarded to the Sports Ministry for follow-up action.
“The U.K. authorities had referred some matter regarding A M Films to us. We passed on the information to the Indian government. The matter is now with the Indian government,” the sources told PTI.
In Delhi, Cabinet Secretary K.M. Chandrashekhar has conveyed concern over the charges as well as delay in preparations to the OC of the mega sporting event in October this year.
Mr. Chandrashekhar held a review meeting on Friday. It was attended by secretaries of agencies concerned, including officials of the OC, and Ministries of Youth and Sports, Urban Development, and Tourism.
His remarks come close on the heels of the Central Vigilance Commission asking its officers to re-examine all the tenders and procurement process related to the projects.
ED probing the matter
Enforcement Directorate sources in Delhi said the agency was probing the issue.
The company was involved in the arrangements for the Queen's Baton Relay when it started its journey from London with a function outside the Buckingham Palace.
Late in the night, the OC refuted the allegations about financial irregularities with relation to the launch of the QBR in London on October 29 last year.
“We must point out that we have not received any official communication in this regard,” it said in a statement.
“We have cleared all the payments in October itself. We asked for the VAT refund and we got it” OC Secretary General Lalit Bhanot, who dismissed the allegations of financial irregularities, said.
“There is no money laundering and no manipulation. Whatever payment made has been done officially and all transactions are transparent,” he told Times Now.
The British authorities have sought to know details of how A M Films which supplied cars for rentals was involved in supply of video equipment and providing consultancy for costume designing.