The Indian High Commission here on Monday said it was ``actively’’ looking into claims about its officials’ role in the controversial hire of vehicles from an obscure London-based company for a Commonwealth Games event last year.
In its first official comment on the affair, India House said in a statement: ``With reference to a press release issued on 1 August 2010, by Organizing Committee of CWG 2010, regarding hire of vehicles from M/s. AM Car and Vans, purportedly at the recommendation of HCI, London, the matter is being actively looked into and further information would be released in due course.’’
It has been alleged that the company was paid ``lakhs’’ of pounds for hiring vehicles and other equipment for the Queen’s Baton Relay ceremony held at Buckingham Palace last October.
The Commonwealth Games Organising Committee chairman Suresh Kalmadi claims that the company was hired at the recommendation of the High Commission and on Sunday he released emails purporting to be from Raju Sebastian, a junior High Commission official, in support of his claim.
He said Mr Sebastian’s email was in response to a communication from the Organising Committee to Vikrant Ratan, first secretary (protocol) seeking a list of agencies for hiring transport and other material for the event.
‘‘The OC would like to clarify we had written to Vikrant Ratan, the first secretary (protocol) of the Indian High Commission, to provide us the list of agencies for transportation, accommodation and other services and their approved rates. In response, Raju Sebastian of the Protocol division of the Indian High Commission, giving reference to our mail to the first secretary Vikrant Ratan, informed the approved vendors for transport are AM Car and Van and the Chauffeur Company,’’ he told a press conference in Delhi.
Mr Kalmadi also claimed that the rates paid to the company were approved by the High Commission.
"He (Sebastian) also indicated the approved rates of the High Commission for accommodation and transportation,’’ he said.