Delhi: India's official auditor Friday severely
indicted Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's Office and Delhi Chief
Minister Sheila Dikshit's government for deep flaws and financial
losses in the conduct of the Commonwealth Games, giving the
opposition more ammo to target the ruling alliance.
In the report tabled in parliament Friday, the Comptroller and
Auditor General (CAG) noted: "The modus operandi observed over the
entire gamut of activities leading to the conduct of the games was
inexplicable delays in decision making which put pressure on
timelines and thereby led to the creation of an artificial or
consciously created sense of urgency."
The 743-page document, spread over 33 chapters, says while the PMO
erred in appointing Suresh Kalmadi, the now jailed chairman of the
Organising Committee of the games, the city government's delays in
decision making had cost the national exchequer.
Additional Director General CAG Rekha Gupta told journalists that
the "report is aimed at monitoring and course correction".
The Oct 3-14 2010 games went off smoothly with India giving its
best ever performance with a record haul of 101 medals. But the
cost escalated 1000 times to Rs.28,054 crore from Rs.296 crore in
May 2003 when the bid was submitted.
The report is bound to create ripples in the political space with
the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Communist Part
of India-Marxist demanding the immediate resignation or ouster of
Blaming the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) for appointing Kalmadi
as chairman of the Organising Committee, Gupta said auditors have
found that the central government ignored repeated warnings from
successive sports ministers against his appointment.
"Despite strenuous objections from the erstwhile minister of youth
affairs and sports, late Sunil Dutt, Kalmadi was appointed as the
OC chairman based on the PMO recommendation of December 2004,"
She said then sports minister Mani Shankar Aiyar and secretary of
the ministry, late S.K. Arora, in 2007 also warned of how
Kalmadi's appointment had rendered the sports ministry
"ineffective in exercising the control over the OC".
But the warnings to the PMO, cabinet secretariat and the group of
ministers "met with strong resistance from the OC chairman and
were unfruitful", she said.
The report also said that the government of India "didn't have a
clear and realistic assessment of the estimated cost of hosting
Dwelling at length on the city infrastructure, the report said
favours were granted to vendors who were not qualified.
"Contract management was highly irregular and deficient. The
processing of certain sensitive contracts and cases were allocated
in an arbitrary and adhoc manner to certain officials who had no
linkages with the concerned functional area," she said, indicating
how the games were riddled with favouritism.
The report also indicts the Delhi government for causing delays in
works execution that led to cost escalation.
It said the street-scaping and beautification project was
"ill-conceived without a broad overarching vision and perspective
of how this would impact urban design and development".
"We found the average awarded works for street-scaping and
beautification of Rs.4.8 crore per km to be exorbitant with total
estimated wasteful expenditure of more than Rs.100 crore," said
The report has also found loopholes in the implementation of the
street lighting project in Delhi. "It was (the decision) taken
with the active involvement of the chief minister and resulted in
avoidable expenditure of more than Rs.30 crore."
The rules were flouted by the Prasar Bharti when it gave the
broadcasting services contract for the games to SIS Live "on a
single financial bid".
The CAG has found irregularities in the purchase of low-floor
buses, construction of bus shelters, street lighting and the light
panels on the buses.
But Dikshit refused to take the blame for the alleged
irregularities and said her government will cooperate with the
parliamentary panel which will examine the CAG report.
"I assure you that when the CAG report goes to the (Public
Accounts Committee) PAC whatever departments are asked to come and
answer any queries, we will cooperate with them completely and
fully," Dikshit told reporters.
The Congress also defended Dikshit even as the opposition stepped
up its attack after the CAG report was tabled in parliament.
"I think now it is the only moral duty of Dikshit that she must
resign," BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar told reporters outside
parliament. "If not, the Congress high command must ask her to
step down immediately and they can elect their new chief
The CPI-M leader Brinda Karat said Dikshit should leave the post
until her name is cleared.
"Dikshit must resign till the matter is over."
No, said the Congress. The report, which is reported to have
pointed a finger at the chief minister, was itself not a ground
for Dikshit to resign, said Law Minister Salman Khurshid.
"That (objections raised by CAG report) doesn't automatically lead
to kind of things that should require people to step down,"
Khurshid told reporters.