BJP seeks accountability for Kalmadi’s appointment (Second Lead)

August 9th, 2011 - 7:23 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party New Delhi, Aug 9 (IANS) Accusing the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government of “monumental fraud” in appointing Suresh Kalmadi as Commonwealth Games Organising Committee chief, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Tuesday said that political heads in the government had allowed creation “of a private fiefdom” and did not have the right to continue in their posts.

Initiating a short duration discussion in the Rajya Sabha on the statement of Sports Minister Ajay Maken on the CWG 2010, BJP leader Arun Jaitley said all the documents relating to appointment of Kalmadi as chief of organising committee should be placed on the table of the house.

“It will reveal the truth, which the government does not want,” Jaitley said.

Jaitley said Kalmadi had floated a private society and the country was entitled to know the truth.

“Was he a chairman in private capacity? If he was a government nominee, why was he allowed as a private society…the government lends shoulder to him,” he said.

Jaitley said every contract awarded by the private body was overpriced.

“It is not only procedural improprieties. Compare it with facts. We were disgraced by reports that everything was overpriced,” he said, adding that the Central Bureau of Investigation was probing some cases.

Demanding political accountability for the lapses, Jaitley said “agencies will be accountable to whoever under law, but the political heads of government of Delhi and the government of India are responsbile to both houses of parliament”.

He said the government has not taken the house into confidence fully and has not been candid.

“The real truth is they saw a political ally and handed over the Games to him,” the BJP leader said.

He said that political heads of the government who were responsible for the “monumental fraud” do not have a right to continue in their posts.

Jaitley, who continued his speech in the post-lunch session following adjournments, said earlier that Maken’s statement had concealed more than it revealed.

Calling it a hurried statement, prompted by leaks to the media of parts of the Comptroller and Auditor General’s (CAG) report on the CWG, Jaitley said an international sporting event was made into a massive scandal by the Congress-led government.

“The Commonwealth Games were supposed to be a major sporting event…but it transformed into a major scam,” Jaitley said. “How much of the money was squandered away still remains a major national concern,” he added.

Maken in his suo moto statement said that the then BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government had the onus for appointment of Kalmadi as chief of organising committee. Kalmadi is currently in jail for alleged involvement in financial irregularities in CWG projects.

Jaitley said while the bid for the Games was accepted in November 2003, an updated bid document appeared in the file of the Games in September 2004.

“When the bid document was accepted in November 2003, how could IOA (Indian Olympics Association) revise the bid unilaterally?” Jaitley asked. Kalmadi was and continues to be the IOA president.

Jaitley said the party took up the issue with then sports minister Vikram Verma, who said he did not remember any revision in the bid document in December 2003.

“How the revised bid appeared in the file in September 2004, he (Kalmadi) used a private route to take control,” Jaitley said, adding when a “friendly government” came in 2004, he first wrote to the prime minister to “associate him” with the Games.

Jaitley also said while in a meeting it was decided that then sports minister Sunil Dutt was to head the OC, the decision was later changed, and the minutes of the meeting were also changed.

“The entire ministry of sports and bureaucracy in the prime minister’s office says this can’t be done and it is overruled,” he said referring to the appointment of Kalmadi as the OC chief.

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