M A I N   N E W S

Clean-up begins, 3 officials suspended
n Three-member panel submits report n Contract with Australian firm terminated n Treasurer resigns
Tribune News Service & PTI

Lalit Bhanot
Lalit Bhanot,
OC secretary general

New Delhi, August 5
Rocked by a series of widescale corruption allegations, the Commonwealth Games Organising Committee today cracked the whip on tainted officials by sacking three officials, including TS Darbari, a close aide of embattled chairman Suresh Kalmadi, and terminated a multi-crore company with an Australian company.

Separately, the government gave an assurance in the Rajya Sabha that it will look into the charges of corruption in project pertaining to the Games.

The decision to sack three top officials was taken by the OC’s all-powerful Executive Board, which met for an emergency meeting in the wake of the corruption scandals that have engulfed the October 3-14 mega event.

Launching a clean-up operation to restore its credibility, the OC decided to sack Joint Director General TS Darbari, Deputy Director General Sanjay Mohindroo and M Jaychandran, Joint Director General (Accounts and Finance) for their alleged role in the Queen’s Baton Relay in London.

“We have sacked these officials as they were responsible for the delivery and conduct of the Queen Baton's relay in London. We are handing over the case to the Enforcement Directorate for further investigation,’ OC Secretary General Lalit Bhanot told a press conference .

Bhanot said that the three-member panel probing the allegations of financial irregularities had submitted its report to the OC chairman and the Executive Board discussed their recommendations.

“The committee members read out their report at the board meeting and the decisions were taken,” Bhanot said.

Bhanot said the resignation of Anil Khanna as the treasurer had been accepted by the Executive Board which has appointed senior adminstrator AK Mattoo to the post.

“With just 60 days left for the Games, we thought of appointing Mattoo for the job as he understands the working of the Federation”, he said.

Kalmadi, who has been facing the heat in the wake of the corruption scandals and isolated within his party, skipped the press conference leaving Bhanot and Mattoo to face the media.

Meanwhile, the government has ruled out setting up of an apex committee to oversee the Games.

Giving a statement in the Upper House, Sports Minister MS Gill said: “As far as corruption is concerned, government will take all actions. I will write to the authorities, including the Finance Minister (and request him) please go seriously into ... If there is anything.”

Making a reference to the findings of the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) and Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG), the minister said the agencies must speed up action and “catch whoever is (responsible)”.

The minister rejected demand from nominated member Mani Shankar Aiyar for a high-level committee on the lines of the one set up in the country for the 1982 Asian Games. “These committees serve nothing,” he stated.

He also took a dig at his predecessor and said that Aiyar “has vast international experience but I also have my administrative judgement. If more committees could solve the problem of the country, we could have 10 more, but that is not a solution”.

Aiyar made the demand for an apex committee headed by Gill to oversee the functioning of the Games “in view of the patent failure to deliver untainted and clear Games.”

Gill said now that less than 60 days are left for the Games, there was no alternative but to host them with success.

“Have faith in India , India will get there....God is with us,” Gill said, adding that all 13 major stadiums, including Jawahar Lal Nehru Stadium are ready.

The CVC has found serious discrepancies like award of works at higher rates to bidders, poor quality of construction and grant of work to ineligible agencies in different Games-related construction works. Political parties such as the BJP and the CPM have demanded action against the guilty.

Aiyar had recently raised a furore with his comments that he would be unhappy if the Games are successful. Organising Committee chairman Suresh Kalmadi termed Aiyar as anti-national and said that had he been the Sports Minister, India would not have been able to host the Games.





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