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CAG drags PMO in CWG mess; faults Dikshit

August 05, 2011 21:17 IST
The Comptroller and Auditor General on Friday dragged the Prime Minister's Office in the Commonwealth Games mess by saying that Suresh Kalmadi, who is jail for alleged irregularities, was appointed as Organising Committee chief at its behest in 2004 despite "serious objections" from within government.

The auditor also blamed Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit's "active involvement" for causing a loss of Rs 31.07 as it highlighted how wasteful expenditure worth several hundred crore of rupees was caused in conduct of the CWG through "irregularities", "favouritism" and "bias" in award of contracts for projects.

In its voluminous 743-page report on the October 2010 Games, the CAG faulted the government for not setting up "single point of authority and accountability" and said there was "lack of clear governance structure, a multiplicity of coordination committees were created, disbanded and reconstituted at different points of time."

Referring to Kalmadi's appointment, it said, "The (CWG) bid document of May 2003 envisaged the OC as a 'government-owned registered society' with the Chairman of OC Executive Board (EB) being a government appointee, and the IOA President being only the EB Vice Chairman."

However, "the OC was ultimately set up in February 2005 as a 'non-government registered society' with the IOA President Shri Suresh Kalmadi as the Chairman of the OC EB," it pointed out in the report tabled in Parliament.

The CAG said "despite serious objections" from the then Sports Minister late Sunil Dutt, Kalmadi was "appointed as the OC Chairman, based on a PMO recommendation of December 2004.

"This decision (to appoint Kalmadi) facilitated conversion of the originally envisaged government-owned OC into a body outside governmental control without commensurate accoutability to government and concomitant controls to ensure propriety and transparency (despite full financial guarantee and funding from government)," the CAG said.

Giving sequence of events, it said that on December 6, 2004, "a communication from the PMO stated that institutional arrangements had been evolved for the conduct of the CWG-2010" and in it, Kalmadi was "indicated as the Chairman of the Organising Committee and the Executive Board."

It also "communicated the Prime Minister's direction that these institutional arrangements be considered in the next GoM meeting", the CAG said, adding the third GoM on January 29, 2005 "endorsed the views of the PMO and decided that the OC would be headed by Shri Kalmadi".

The auditor noted that an "unwieldy 400-plus" general body of the OC was constituted "which was not envisaged in the bid document or the Host City Contract" and did not result in any significant benefit or value addition to the Games.

"The OC .. functioned, in effect, as a parallel, non-governmental organisation, without commensurate accountability to government and concomitant controls to ensure propriety and transparency (despite full financial guarantee and funding from government)," it said.

The CAG referred to Dikshit, saying with her "active involvement" luminaries (street lights) were imported at "far higher cost" than the domestic ones, leading to "avoidable extra expenditure of Rs 31.07 crore".

With regard to streetscaping and beautification of roads around CWG venues, it said a "wasteful expenditure" of Rs 101.02 crore was caused by the "ad hoc and arbitrary manner" of awarding contracts at an "exorbitant" average cost of Rs 4.8 crore per km.

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