M A I N   N E W S

Kalmadi feels the heat
n Told to sack 2 aides n Krishna confronts him with ‘doctored’ e-mail
Tribune News Service & PTI

New Delhi, August 3
Commonwealth Games Organising Committee chairman Suresh Kalmadi’s cup of woes is brimming over with the Sports Ministry now putting him under pressure by asking him to sack two of his close aides in the committee.

In a letter to Kalmadi, Sports Secretary Sindhushree Khullar has asked for the removal of TS Darbari (OC joint director-general) and Dr Sanjay Mohindroo (OC deputy director- general) after their names figured in the investigations into “alleged irregularities” during the Queen’s Baton Relay in London.

“With the Games just two months away, matters such as UK payments and alleged customs inquiry against Darbari raise questions of probity and integrity of officers in the OC,” Khullar wrote in the letter written on August 1.

“They tarnish the image of the Games and adversely affect its credibility... I would strongly advise you that the above two officers should be immediately relieved of all their duties in the OC and the government informed accordingly,” 
she said.

In fact, the ministry had first written such a letter to the OC in February itself when Darbari’s alleged customs violations were first reported in newspapers.

The ministry sought Darbari’s removal from the OC’s revenue and marketing units, but Kalmadi, at that time, shot back saying that nothing had been proved against him.

The latest scandal is about alleged irregular payments to a little-known UK firm for its “services” during the Queen’s Baton Relay and Darbari’s name has cropped up here as well.

“This matter has been referred to the government by the HM Revenue and Customs Department of the UK, through the Indian High Commission in London,” the ministry wrote.

Meanwhile, Suresh Kalmadi this morning virtually got a dressing down from External Affairs Minister SM Krishna that later forced him to order a probe into the allegations of irregularities in financial transactions between the Organising Committee (OC) and a London-based firm. Krishna confronted Kalmadi with the original e-mail that was allegedly doctored to claim that the London-based firm was hired after a recommendation by an official of the Indian High Commission.

The genuine e-mail did not mention the name of the firm, AM Films, which had been paid more than Rs 3 crores for providing services by the organising committee.According to sources, the High Commission had sent its report to the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) after conducting an independent inquiry into the matter in which it was found that its official Raju Sebastian had responded to a query on hotel tariffs only and not on hiring of vehicles. The Indian mission in London clarified that it had not recommended the company for the OC during the Queen Baton’s Relay in London in last October.

Sources said Krishna had also spoken to Indian High Commissioner in Britain Nalin Surie after the controversy erupted. The Indian envoy denied that the mission was in any way to blame for the controversy.The high commission has sent a detailed note to the MEA, explaining the details of the internal inquiry. The contents of the mission’s note were also shared with Kalmadi today, which put him on the defensive. — PTI





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