THE way scandals are tumbling out of the Commonwealth Games 2010 organising committee’s cupboard and the silence of the Prime Minister over the corruption charges leveled against his government is all set to make the ensuing Games in New Delhi a matter of shame. London-based Commonwealth Games officials flying down to the capital to check on the allegations of low quality construction of stadiums, nepotism, incomplete sports facilities and favouritism in selection process is unprecedented in the history of international games.
Games officials from abroad have to be credited for being tight-lipped to maintain decorum. But in private conversations the angst and fury of the officials become evident. The Commonwealth Games headquarter in London had issued a warning last year about the slow pace of the preparations and the state of the infrastructure for the sportsmen. Now when the government spreads the word that all allegations of corruption should be brushed under the carpet because it is a matter of national pride, it is even stripped off the fig leaf.
The Union Sports Minister MS Gill has all the while been on making soft noises. The real shame is that Suresh Kalmadi and his minions have connived and in most cases been hand-in-glove in getting kick-backs. Look at the brazen attempt at inflating prices:
Treadmills on hire at Rs 9 lakh
Air Conditioners on hire at Rs 4 lakh
Toilet paper at Rs 3,757 per roll
Umbrellas on hire Rs 6,000 per piece
To ward off the oncoming storm Suresh Kalmadi set up a three-member panel to inquire into allegations of large-scale corruption against the Organising Committee (OC) of the Commonwealth Games (CWG). This was a panel made by the minister for himself and of himself. The committee is expected to report to the minister and submit the inquiry report of his own culpability! And in all this Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh has been maintaining a deafening silence.
Kalmadi is the Chairman of the Organising Committee and the man in charge of the Commonwealth Games 2010 in Delhi. Kalmadi and his partners in crime are at pains to explain why a little-known UK-based company, AM Cars, was selected for a diaspora of services for the Queen’s Baton Relay ceremony in London in October last year.
It is amazing that a sum of two-lakh pounds was paid to the UK-based company without signing a contract. Kalmadi’s contention is that the Indian High Commission had recommended AM Cars in an email and brandished that email at a press conference. But the scandal which is now gaining gigantic proportions involved Union Foreign Minister SM Krishna too. The Foreign Minister in a meeting with Kalmadi furnished another copy of the email which did not make any reference to AM Firms.
The seamier side of the scandal will obviously be the pay-offs made to the ministry level officials, and going by the way the Prime Minister has been quiet over the goings-on under his nose, it seems there will be an all-out effort to cover up. This Congress government has been successful in bringing ignominy to the country like none else in the past.