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CBI arrests top CWG officials
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 23
The CBI seems to be tightening the noose around neck of the sacked chairman of the Commonwealth Games Organising Committee, Suresh Kalmadi. It today picked up his two close aides, including his second-in-command and former secretary-general of the committee Lalit Bhanot.

The agency arrested Bhanot and VK Verma, former director-general of the committee, after both were called to its headquarters for questioning. The agency has accused them of receiving kickbacks from a Swiss-based company for awarding it a Rs 107-crore contract for the time, scoring & result (TSR) equipment for the 13-day sporting extravaganza.

Both have been accused of pushing the case of Swiss Timing even before bids were called for. At least two firms were dissuaded from bidding and Spanish firm MSL, which was the only other bidder, was disqualified at the pre-qualification stage on flimsy grounds, official sources said.

When asked if it could be the turn of Kalmadi now, a CBI official said they had substantial evidence to link the Congress MP with the scam. But he did not specify what were the exact charges the agency planned to slap on the Congress MP, who was sacked from the Organising Committee (OC) along with Bhanot after their names surfaced in the ongoing probes.

Bhanot and Verma have been booked under Sections 120B (criminal conspiracy) and 420 (cheating) of the IPC apart from relevant sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act. The Swiss-based firm has also been booked apart from its officials and other unidentified persons.

Even before the expression of interest (EoI) was invited, the accused OC officials wrote that Swiss Timing met all criteria. To disqualify the Spanish firm, they said it did not have experience in all 17 sports that the CWG was hosting although it was not a prerequisite.

The accused officials also altered the criteria for the EoI when they realised that the Swiss firm could not meet them, sources said.

Meanwhile, a Delhi court today pulled up the CBI for not arresting the “receivers of bribe” in the CWG scams and asked for reasons. The observations from Special CBI Judge OP Saini came after the agency requested for the custody of KUK Reddy, an additional director-general with the OC, and Praveen Bakshi, head of a private firm that supplied overlays for various CWG projects.





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