Kiwi Olympic body chief dismisses fears over Delhi Commonwealth Games

August 4th, 2010 - 1:23 pm ICT by ANI  

Wellington, Aug.4 (ANI): The New Zealand Olympic Committee has dismissed fears over whether or not the Commonwealth Games will be held in Delhi in October or not.

Reacting to reports of alleged corruption surrounding the games, as also concerns about security and venue readiness, the New Zealand Herald quoted NZOC secretary general Barry Maister as saying that he was not concerned with all the negative talk.

Maister said the New Zealand Olympic Association still has high hopes about Delhi being a unique and positive experience.

Maister’s comments came as the chairman of the Commonwealth Games Organising Committee and Indian Olympic Association chief, Suresh Kalmadi, on Tuesday set up a three-member panel to probe the money scam trail to the United Kingdom.

The panel includes Jarnail Singh, Chief Executive Officer, Organising Committee, Commonwealth Games Delhi 2010, G.C. Chaturvedi, Special Director General- Finance, and Gurjyot Kaur, Chief Vigilance Officer of the OC.

The Committee would look into the issue of money being paid to the UK-based AM Car and Van Limited and the Ministry of External Affair’s contention about the letters issued by the Indian High Commission in the United Kingdom.

The appointment of the panel came as members of the Rajya Sabha were permitted to have a limited discussion on the diversion of funds from the Commonwealth Games to parties abroad by Deputy Chairman K. Rahman.

Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader D. Raja called on the central government to step in immediately to take charge of the games management given the controversy surrounding it. He said what should have been the pride of the nation, was becoming a national shame, and a matter of international ridicule.

Prithviraj Chavan said the government is apprised of the controversy surrounding the games preparations, and committed that within a week, it would come back to the house and its members on the issue of the diversion of funds.

Kalmadi meets Krishna, seeks to clarify CWG’s stand on UK money scam

Earlier on Tuesday, Kalmadi, who is at the center of an alleged corruption scam linked to the Commonwealth Games to be held in New Delhi from October 3 to October 14, met External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna to clarify the Commonwealth Games stand on the UK money trail.

The controversy emerged over charges that a UK-based firm AM Films is being used as a conduit for siphoning off tens of thousands of pounds that have been sanctioned by the government for the smooth conduct of the games.

While Kalmadi has claimed publicly that the protocol division of the Indian High Commission in London cleared the firm to do business with the Commonwealth Games Organising Committee, the high commission and the Ministry of External Affairs have denied giving any such sanction.

The Indian Sports Ministry has asked Kalmadi to remove his close aide T.S. Darbari from the CWG Organising Committee, compounding his problems further.

Darbari is currently the Deputy Department General of the Games panel and has come under the scanner after reports emerged about his association with AM films, a little-known UK firm that was paid lakhs of pounds by the CWG Organising Committee for its “services” during the London leg of the Queen’s Baton relay.

Investigations have revealed that AM Films and its sister concerns are suspect business entities that were paid 2,50,000 pounds without any written contract.

The company had faced liquidation in July 2010. A day after getting the liquidation notice, its director Ashish Patel resigned from his post. The liquidation notice was later withdrawn after the company gave an explanation. Even its sister organisation, AM Car and Van Hire Company filed for liquidation in July 2010.

AM Films is currently facing a probe by UK Customs and Revenue Department.

Media reports claim that the money trail leading to UK is key proof of the rampant corruption in the Commonwealth Games 2010.

Kalmadi has called a meeting of the Commonwealth Games Executive Board on August 5 to discuss the allegations of corruption on a demand of the Commonwealth Games Federation. (ANI)

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