Krishna’s tough talk led to CWG probe

August 3rd, 2010 - 8:59 pm ICT by IANS  

By Manish Chand
New Delhi, Aug 3 (IANS) When Commonwealth Games Organizing Committee (OC) chairman Suresh Kalmadi came to meet him Tuesday morning, External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna confronted him with original e-mails that were allegedly doctored to claim that a London-based firm was hired after a recommendation by an official of the Indian High Commission in London, reliable sources said.

Krishna showed Kalmadi mails that the latter used to claim that AM Films was paid for providing services, which was recommended by the high commission, and told him that they were different from the mails from the high commission, indicating that the mails were tampered with, the sources said, who spoke strictly on the condition of anonymity, told IANS.

Kalmadi had cited an e-mail by a junior official of the mission in support of his claim.

The high commission has sent a report to the external affairs ministry and clarified that it had not recommended the company for the OC during the Queen Baton’s Relay in October. The report indicated that the mails cited by Kalmadi were doctored to make a case, the sources said.

These sources also said that the OC officials had made enquiries about hotel tariffs in London and not about car rentals which was required for the Baton Relay.

The High Commission also maintained that the official, Raju Sebastian, who reportedly introduced London-based firm AM Films, owned by Asish Patel, to the OC, was not authorized to do so.

Sources in the high commission said Sebastian initially did not recall having sent such a mail, prompting the commission officials to call for all the e-mails to ascertain the specific e-mail addresses from which correspondence was sent to the OC.

The OC is understood to have paid AM Films, an Indian-owned firm, over 450,000 pounds for services during the Queen’s Baton Relay function in London last October, allegedly without following proper procedures and paper work.

It was only after some tough talking from Krishna and an uproar in parliament over “corrupt deals” involving Commonwealth Games that the OC, at the behest of Kalmadi, ordered a probe in the afternoon and formed a three-member panel to probe the allegations of wrongdoing.

Opposition party members in the Rajya Sabha also fulminated against the alleged diversion of funds meant for Scheduled Castes towards Commonwealth Games expenditure.

OC secretary-general Lalit Bhanot announced that the three-member committee will comprise Jarnail Singh, chief executive of organising committee, G.C. Chaturvedi, special director general finance and Gurjyot Kaur, chief vigilance officer of the organising committee and will also deal with the UK-based company.

“The organising committee has taken serious note of the issue. The three-member committee will look into the issue of money being paid for Queens Baton Relay in London and the controversy over the letter from the Indian High Commission.

(Manish Chand can be contacted at manish.c@ians.in)

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