Government concealed facts on CWG: Jaitley (Lead)

August 9th, 2011 - 4:46 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party New Delhi, Aug 9 (IANS) Accusing Sports Minister Ajay Maken of keeping facts from parliament, Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley Tuesday said his statement conceals more than it reveals.

“Maken’s statement reveals a little but conceals much more and one of the questions which arises is why does it conceal so much information?” Jaitley asked as he initiated a discussion on the minister’s statement on the Commonwealth Games (CWG) in parliament last week.

Calling it a hurried statement, prompted by parts of the Comptroller and Auditor General’s (CAG) report on the CWG being leaked to the media, 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.

Jaitley said efforts were being made to conceal who was really responsible.

Maken had stated that the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government had appointed Suresh Kalmadi as the chief of the CWG Organising Committee. Kalmadi is currently in jail for alleged involvement in financial irregularities in CWG projects.

Giving a chronology of events, stating those were the facts concealed by the sports minister, 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 said. Kalmadi is the IOA president, but is in jail.

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.

Jaitley, however, also added that the buck cannot stop with Kalmadi alone.

“The prime minister in his statement after the Games said no one will be spared, but they want to stop the buck at one man who somehow became the OC chief,” Jaitley said indicating Kalmadi, “but the buck should not stop at one person, no one should escape whether it is Delhi government or central government”.

The debate was interrupted when opposition members started shouting slogans against Congress president Sonia Gandhi, blaming her for Kalmadi’s appointment and calling her a “thief”.

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