Under-fire Commonwealth Games Organising Committee chairman Suresh Kalmadi’s cup of woes is brimming over with the Sports Ministry now putting him under pressure by asking him to sack two of his close aides in the Organising Committee.
In a letter to Mr. Kalmadi, Sports Secretary Sindhushree Khullar has asked for the removal of T. S. Darbari (OC joint Director General) and Dr. Sanjay Mohindroo (OC Deputy Director General) after their names figured in the investigations into “alleged irregularities” into services provided during the Queen’s Baton Relay in London.
“With the Games just two months away, matters such as the UK payments and alleged customs inquiry against Darbari raise questions of probity and integrity of officers in the OC,” Khullar wrote in the letter written on August 1.
“They tarnish the image of the Games and adversely affect its credibility... I would strongly advise you that the above two officers should be immediately relieved of all their duties in the OC and the government informed accordingly,” she said.
In fact, the Ministry had first written such a letter to OC in February itself when Mr. Darbari’s alleged customs violations were first reported in the newspapers.
The Ministry sought Mr. Darbari’s removal from the OC’s revenue and marketing units but Mr. Kalmadi, at that time, shot back saying that nothing had been proved against him.
The latest scandal is about alleged irregular payments to a little-known UK firm for its “services” during the Queen’s Baton Relay and Mr. Darbari’s name has cropped up here as well.
“This matter has been referred to the Government by the HM Revenue and Customs Department of the UK, through the Indian High Commission in London,” the Ministry wrote.
Mr. Kalmadi has been in the line of fire for a few weeks after numerous media reports highlighting rampant corruption in the Games’ preparations started coming out. Adding to his woes, the Central Vigilance Commission also pointed out financial wrongdoings in the construction work carried out for the October 3 to 14 event.