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Nationwide I-T raids on CWG suspects
Sleuths swoop down on 60 premises of Games’ contractors
Tribune News Service & PTI

New Delhi, October 28
As part of its probe into alleged financial irregularities in the conduct of the Commonwealth Games, the Income Tax department sleuths today swooped down on close to 60 premises across the country — mainly of the contractors involved in the sporting extravaganza.

Official sources said over 300 officials were part of the nationwide raids, conducted in the National Capital Region, Bangalore, Mumbai, Kolkata and Jharkhand. As the multi-agency investigations into alleged bungling continued, the Central Vigilance Commission was probing a complaint related to alleged amassing of Rs 200 crore by a top CWG official, said to be a close associate of Organising Committee Chairman Suresh Kalmadi.

In reply to an RTI query filed by PTI, the CVC, which is looking into 22 complaints of irregularities in different projects, said that it is probing the complaint against VK Gautam, former Chief Operating Officers. Gautam was not available for comment.

Official sources said the simultaneous raids in various cities, which began early morning, were centred on four main contractors roped in by the CWG OC for landscaping and beautification works of the Games venues among other works. Sources said the I-T probe will specifically look into the contracts awarded by the OC and the role of its officials and contractors, besides charges of bribing. A team of I-T officials landed at Delhi-based firm ENZ Shiv Naresh, which had supplied synthetic track, and Satyaprakash & Brothers, responsible for some landscaping even as officials of these firms feigned ignorance about the development.

“We are trying to gather as much evidence as possible. It would be immature to say now if we have got hold of any definite clue of corruption,” an official who was part of one of the raiding parties said.

A senior functionary at Shiv Naresh said the raiding officials told them that it was a routine search. “They said it is part of nationwide searches and they were friendly. We are also cooperating with them,” he said.

The department had carried out similar raids on October 19 on different contractors, including a firm belonging to a relative of BJP leader Sudhanshu Mittal. Mittal’s premises were also searched and he had termed it a diversionary tactic even as his party distanced itself from him.

I-T officials said their main job was to see if these firms had evaded taxes or inflated invoices to cheat the public exchequer. The seized documents related with the works carried out by them for the CWG, their financial statements and their communications with the Games’ organisers. Various investigating agencies are already probing corruption charges levelled against the CWG organisers. However, apart from the ED no other agency has registered any case after the Games, indicating that their probes were still in an early stage.

The ED has questioned a few officials of the OC of the CWG but no arrests were made. The CBI had registered an FIR before the Games had even begun on the directions of the CVC. The case related to a landscaping work done by the Delhi Municipal Corporation in which the CVC had suspected corruption when the contractor was found to have jacked up prices after he was awarded the work.





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