Kalmadi rubbishes allegations of financial irregularities (Lead)

July 31st, 2010 - 8:45 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, July 31 (IANS) Commonwealth Games organising committee chairman Suresh Kalmadi Saturday denied media allegations of financial irregularities related to the launch of the Queen’s Baton Relay in London last year and threatened to sue the television channel for levelling “baseless allegations of corruption”.
The Times Now news channel reported Friday night that the British government has launched an investigation into alleged dubious money transfers to a UK company after a letter written by the Commonwealth Games Organising Committee to the Revenue and Customs Department of United Kingdom came into focus.

The news channel claimed thousands of pounds had been transferred to a small-time company in the UK contracted to the organising committee without proper contract and permission.

Kalmadi said: “The budget of the London function was Rs.130 million but we utilised only Rs.60 million. We have also taken permission from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and they have given us all the necessary approvals.

“The Times Now report also said that 25,000 pounds were given for costume design. It is not true. I don’t know where they have got the reports from.”

The channel claimed that the Indian High Commission had written to the sports ministry over the allegations of transfer of money to one AM Films UK Ltd from the organising committee during the launch of the Queen’s Baton Relay in London in October last year.

Kalmadi said that it was the Indian High Commission, which had recommended AM Films UK Ltd and its sister company for hiring cars and putting up mobile screens and toilets in London for the event.

“We got the approval to hire AM Films from the Indian High Commission. I got a mail from Raju Sebasatien from the High Commission on October 13 recommending the name of the company and at High Commission’s rates. We have dealt all matters in a transparent way,” Kalmadi said.

Kalmadi added: “I am deeply hurt by the allegations against the organising committee shown on Times Now. I would like to deny everything mentioned in the report. We have nothing to hide. Every pie is accounted for. Times now should have consulted us before making these allegations.”

Kalmadi reiterated that payments worth 238,093.56 pounds were made to AM Car & Van Hire Ltd and worth 146,868.80 pounds to AM Films UK Ltd on Oct 24 for hiring mobile video screens.

“This was made after Metropolitan Police insisted that we provide the mobile video screens at the venue of the function. The accounts were settled before the Organising Committee Commonwealth Games 2010 Delhi left London. No payment was made after Oct 30. The allegation that Organising Committee Commonwealth Games 2010 Delhi makes payments of 25,000 pounds every month to AM Films UK Ltd is baseless and incorrect,” he said.

Kalmadi also informed that the organising committee had asked for a VAT refund from the British government.

“If there was anything wrong, why would we have asked for a VAT refund,” he said.

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