Award of contract to Swiss Timing transparent, says Bhanot

August 3rd, 2012 - 10:22 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Aug 3 (IANS) Commonwealth Games (CWG) Organising Committee’s former secretary-general Lalit Bhanot Friday told a special CBI court hearing a corruption case against him that everything was transparent in the process of awarding a contract to a Swiss firm.

“Nothing can be more transparent on part of Organising Committee as it had openly announced in its general assembly meeting that the timing, scoring and results (TSR) system contract is being given to Swiss Timing,” Bhanot’s counsel senior advocate Ramesh Gupta told Special Judge Talwant Singh.

Opposing the framing of charges against Bhanot, the lawyer said that awarding of contract to Swiss Timing was announced in the general assembly meeting Oct 12, 2009.

“A large number of foreigners were also present in that meeting. Nothing was kept secret, so where is the conspiracy,” argued Gupta.

He said it was the openness of OC that they came out in public with whatever they decided regarding the award of TSR contract.

“Conspiracy is done between two-three people and it is kept secret but when the award of contract was announced in front of a large number, it is not conspiracy or dishonesty,” said Gupta.

He further argued that Bhanot cannot be charged with the offence of conspiracy as nothing was kept secret regarding the award of TSR system contract to the Swiss firm.

The court must examine where is the conspiracy, dishonesty and maliciousness while framing charges against Bhanot, said Gupta.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has charged Bhanot with being a part of the conspiracy for financial irregularities in organising the Commonwealth Games.

According to the prosecution, two bids were received for the TSR contract from Swiss Timing and MSL Spain and these were opened Nov 4, 2009, but then Organising Committee chairman Suresh Kalmadi and his associate V.K. Verma had at a meeting Oct 12, 2009, announced that the contract would be awarded to Swiss Timing.

Bhanot, however, alleged that MSL Spain used forged documents in the bid, and the forms submitted by the company were not duly filled as a few columns were left blank.

The CBI had alleged that Kalmadi and his associates had rejected the Spanish firm MSL’s bid with much lower value at Rs.62 crore for installing the TSR system for the 2010 CWG games and had awarded it to the Swiss Timing Omega, causing loss to the public exchequer.

The CBI in its first charge sheet in the case against Kalmadi and 10 others described him as a prime accused and the mastermind in the corruption case related to financial irregularities in awarding the Rs.141 crore contract for the scoring system.

The accused officials and two companies were charged under various sections of the Indian Penal Code for cheating, criminal conspiracy and forgery and under the Prevention of Corruption Act.

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