The Bharatiya Janata Party on Tuesday attempted to drag the Prime Minister's Office into the CWG controversy, questioning why the PMO and the Union Cabinet did not verify the costs before approving the 'inflated budget' of various Games projects. The party also demanded a joint parliamentary committee probe into the alleged irregularities.
Terming the alleged bungling as a 'very big scam', BJP president Nitin Gadkari said a detailed probe should be held by a JPC to "uncover the involvement of the political leadership".
He said the Central Bureau of Investigation should also investigate the corruption charges and submit its report within three months. Gadkari claimed that the BJP has substantial documents to prove the involvement of political leaders and the party would submit them to a JPC.
"All types of increase in estimates were approved by the Cabinet sub-committee and the PMO. Before approving (the inflated cost), why didn't they verify it," Gadkari said wondering "whether the whole cabinet is responsible for the chaos and corruption in CWG preparations."
Gadkari claimed that 'benami' financial deals took place in CWG projects through the Mauritius route. He said that out of the Rs 70,000 crore spent on the Games, only Rs 350 crore were spent on Indian sportspersons.
Terming the current probe ordered by the prime minister as'eyewash', he demanded that all agencies involved in the Games preparations, both from the Centre as well as Delhi government, should be brought under the ambit of the investigations.
"Peoples' money was looted in the name of the Games and strict action must be taken against those involved in the scam. It is a very serious issue and the party will take the issue to the people," he said.
Gadkari said that his party would raise the issue in both houses of the Parliament during the winter session and press for the setting up of a joint parliamentary committee to oversee investigations by various agencies.
"This is necessary to probe the political personalities who may have given patronage to those who have made money," he said in response to a question.
"The prime minister then signed the documents himself. He signed the letter for the release of money for the conduct of the Games to none other than Suresh Kalmadi. Is the whole cabinet not responsible for the CWG chaos and corruption? Congress is ruling at the Centre, in Delhi and it is controlling the CWG. Then who is monitoring the committees," he asked.
He also sought to know how the total budget for staging the Games escalated to 17.5 per cent of the original budget. "Why didn't the prime minister's office cross-check the manner in which contracts were offered to a favoured few? Why didn't the PMO or Dr Singh himself ask questions? We demand that all the agencies should expedite the probe and cases against those who have made money should be registered. Their properties should be confiscated," he said.
Gadkari vehemently denied reports that BJP leaders were also involved in corruption in the CWG. "I have spoken to V K Malhotra, who is a member of the organising committee and he said he has nothing to do with any tender," said the BJP president.
He wanted to know if it was true that the total cost of the Games had exceeded Rs 70,000 crore. "This is a serious matter and the honourable Supreme Court also made certain observations in this regard and expressed its displeasure on how public money was being misused," Gadkari pointed out.