CAG questions Kalmadi’s role as OC chairman

August 5th, 2011 - 9:47 pm ICT by IANS  

Mani Shankar Aiyar New Delhi, Aug 5 (IANS) The Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) Friday raised questions on the role of controversial Suresh Kalmadi as the chairman of the Commonwealth Games Organising Committee.

The CAG blamed Kalmadi virtually for every contract for equipment, sponsorship, broadcast rights and catering, which were given at over-inflated rates.

The CAG said that the constitution of an unwieldy 400-plus general body of members of the OC, which was not envisaged in the bid document or the HCC (Host City Contract), did not result in any significant benefit or value addition to the Games Project.

“The bid document of May 2003 envisaged the OC as a Government-owned registered society, with the Chairman of the OC Executive Board (EB) being a government appointee, and the IOA President being the EB Vice-Chairman. However, the OC was ultimately set up as a non-Government registered society, with the IOA President, Suresh Kalmadi as the Chairman of the OC EB. This change was orchestrated through a chronology of events, commencing with a document titled as an ‘updated bid’ with the dateline of December 2003,” the report said.

“These changes were objected to, and highlighted, by the erstwhile Minister, YAS (Youth Affairs and Sports), late Sunil Dutt in November 2004 in correspondence with Arjun Singh (Chairman, GoM) and the Prime Minister. These objections were ignored, and Kalmadi’s views prevailed. In our view, the decision to appoint Kalmadi as the OC Chairman, based on a PMO recommendation, facilitated the conversion of the originally envisaged Government-owned OC into a body outside Governmental control, without commensurate accountability to Government and concomitant controls to ensure propriety and transparency. This was despite full financial guarantee and funding from Government,” CAG noted.

CAG also said that former sports minister Mani Shankar Aiyar also highlighted the Ministry’s ineffective position in exercising control over the OC to the PMO and GoM in 2007.

“This was, however, met with strong resistance from the Chairman, OC and did not yield the desired results.The absence of a single point of authority and accountability for ensuring the successful conduct of CWG-2010 and the lack of a clear governance structure led to ad hoc creation of a multiplicity of co-ordination committees that were created, disbanded, and reconstituted at different points of time,” the report said.

“Payments were made in haste, with high amounts being given in cash. The committee’s state of documentation was so inadequate that we are unable to get an assurance about the authenticity of records. Processing of sensitive contracts was allocated in arbitrary manner to officials who had no linkages to the concerned functional area,” the CAG report said.

The CAG said that former sports secretary late S.K. Arora “had raised the need for balancing OC’s need for operational flexibility with transparency and public financial accountability, and indicated that in the present legal framework of the OC, it was unlikely that the Government representatives would be able to discharge their responsibility of ensuring transparency and public financial accountability in the management of the OC.”

“Such attempts were met with strong resistance from the Chairman, OC, who wrote to Arjun Singh, Chairman GoM stating that ‘any attempt to fiddle around with the structures of OC would not only stop the internal motion but would be perceived as retrograde step by the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF), IFs (International Federations) and the CGAs… would diminish the brand value of the Games globally and prove to be fatal for the conduct of Games,” the CAG report said.

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