Sacked Commonwealth Games Organising Committee chief Suresh Kalmadi, facing trial in a games-related graft case, has been allowed by a Delhi court to visit Kazakhstan to attend a meeting of 73rd Asian Athletics Association Council.
Besides Kalmadi, former OC Secretary General Lalit Bhanot, co-accused in the case of illegally awarding contract for installing a Timing-Scoring-Result system, too was allowed by Special CBI Judge Talwant Singh to visit Almaty in Kazakhstan to attend the meeting scheduled on April 27.
While permitting the two to go to Almaty, the court stipulated that Kalmadi and Bhanot would furnish a bank guarantee or FDR of Rs 10 lakh each besides giving an undertaking that they would be represented through their counsel before the court.
"I am of the view that accused persons (Kalmadi and Bhanot) are entitled to travel abroad to attend the meeting of 73rd Asian Athletics Association Council to be held between April 25 to April 29," the judge said.
He, however, made it clear that in case they fail to have themselves represented in the court through their counsel, their bank guarantee or the FDR would be forfeited.
Kalmadi is the president of Asian Athletics Association Council and Bhanot is one of its members.
The Central Bureau of Investigation had opposed their pleas saying they are high profile, influential and well-connected people and if the permission is granted, "it would open a Pandora box further thwarting the efforts of speedy trial."
The court, however, allowed their pleas and asked them not to "contact/influence the prosecution witnesses" during this period and said no adjournment would be granted during the proceedings on the ground that they are not present.
Kalmadi, along with Bhanot and nine other co-accused, are charged with illegally granting the TSR system contract to Swiss Timing Omega at exorbitant cost of Rs 141 crore during the 2010 Commonwealth Games here, causing a loss of over Rs 90 crore to the state exchequer.
The court, in its order, directed Kalmadi and Bhanot to furnish full details of addresses, where they are likely to stay at Almaty in Kazakhstan along with phone numbers before their departure.
During the hearing, Kalmadi had sought court's permission to attend the meeting saying being the president of the association, his presence was "essential as he is required to make a formal address to members of the Asian Athletics Association Council."
Similarly, Bhanot had argued that he is a member of the Asian Council of AAA as a "resource person" and he has been invited to attend the said meeting scheduled on April 27.
The CBI had opposed their pleas saying the case was still at the stage of scrutiny of documents despite the order for day-to-day trial because of the "delaying tactics" adopted by the accused persons.
The CBI had said the pleas should be dismissed as AAA council is not a government or statutory or a constitutional body.
The CBI had filed its charge sheet against Kalmadi and ten others on May 20, describing him as the main accused in the graft case involving the award of TSR system contract.
Besides Kalmadi and Bhanot, other nine accused in the case are CWG OC's Director General V K Verma, Director General
(Procurement) Surjit Lal, Joint Director General (Sports) A S V Prasad and Treasurer M Jayachandran. They are no more associated with the sporting body.
The promoters of two construction companies - P D Arya and A K Madan of Faridabad-based Gem International and A K Reddy and his firm AKR Constructions are also accused in the case.
Besides them, the two firms, Swiss Timing Omega (the swiss firm which was awarded the contract at exorbitant rates) and AKR Constructions are also accused in the case.