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Sports Minister to Make Statement in House on Appointment of Kalmadi as CWG Chief

BeyondHeadlines News Desk

New Delhi: Union Sports Minister Ajay Maken will make a statement in Parliament on the controversy over the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) office actually appointing the scam-tainted Suresh Kalmadi as the chief of the Commonwealth Games.

Manmohan Singh is once again under attack after it was reported by NDTV that a Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report has blamed the PMO for the appointment of now jailed Suresh Kalmadi as the Commonwealth Games Organizing Committee chairman.

NDTV report said Maken met the prime minister earlier on Tuesday on the issue following the report in their channel.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s Office appeared to shift the blame of appointing Suresh Kalmadi as the chief organiser of the 2010 Commonwealth Games (CWG) on the BJP-led NDA government after being pulled by the national auditor for doing so.

The PMO said that the appointment was in line with a deal that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) had signed with the CWG Federation a year prior to being defeated by Singh’s Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) in 2004 elections.

According to the present regime, the official agreement, signed after India won the bid to host the 2010 Games in New Delhi during Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s tenure, mandated that Indian Olympics Association (IOA) President will be the Chairman of the Organising Committee.

Since the Suresh Kalmadi was the incumbent IOA President, he was made the Chief of the Organising Committee (OC) for the Games, said the PMO, asserting that it had no hand in the decision to appoint him.

NDA regime sports minister Vikram Verma on Tuesday told NDTV that during their regime the name of Kalmadi was not even discussed, but it was decided that the post will be given to a nominee of the government appointed person.

“In our time no name was discussed. After the UPA came a Group of Ministers (GoM) was formed and then he was selected,” said Verma.

According to the NDTV report that quotes past UPA ministers like late Sunil Dutt and Mani Shankar Aiyar, the move of appointing Kalmadi was objected by both in letters.

“Why Sunil Dutt was also overruled? He was a dignified man,” asked BJP senior leader Ravi Shankar Prasad, as his party prepared to sharpen its attack on the PMO.

India faced humiliation before the entire world in the run up to the Games in October last year owing to shabby preparations. The Games, however, concluded without any major hitch and Indian athletes brought several accolades to the nation.

After being widely accused of leading massive bungling through inflated contracts among other misuses of his office, Kalmadi was sacked from his post of IOA president, suspended from the Congress party and is being probed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

According to media reports, a report by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG), which is expected to be presented in the Parliament in the current session, has rapped the PMO for the controversial appointment that caused crores in losses to the treasury.

“In our opinion, the decision of the PMO for appointing Suresh Kalmadi as Chairman of the OC facilitated the conversion of the originally envisaged government-owned OC into a body effectively outside the government control,” the unreleased report was quoted as saying.

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