इंडियन आवाज़     06 Dec 2023 01:47:50      انڈین آواز

CAG indicts PMO, Shiela on CWG irregularities

The Report of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) tabled in the Parliament on Friday will be sent to the Public Accounts Committee.of the Parliament for further investigation.

The principal Opposition party BJP, which has recently removed its Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa from office for alleged charges of corruption, has sought the removal of the Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit.

The Delhi Chief Minister said this evening that she has not yet received a copy of the auditor’s report, which will be presented to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament. “We can assure when the report goes to PAC, whatever departments are asked to answer queries of the PAC, we will cooperate with them completely and fully,” Mrs Dikshit said.

The CAG has questioned Suresh Kalmadi’s appointment as Chairman of the Organising Committee Executive Board deviating from the provisions envisaged in the original bid document of May 2003. Kalmadi was appointed as Chairman of OC EB based on the Dececember 2004 recommendation of the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s Office despite serious objections raised by the then Youth Affairs and Sports Minister, Sunil Dutt. Subsequently the next Youth Affairs and Sports Minister, Mani Shankar Aiyar and the secretary in the ministry, late SK Arora made similar objections which fell on deaf ears.

The original bid of May 2003 said that the OC should be a government-owned registered society and its chairman should be a government nominee and the President of Indian Olympics Association, Suresh Kalmadi should be the Vice-Chairman of OC EB. However, deviating from the provisions of the original bid OC was set up as a non-government registered society.

India got the right to host Commonwealth Games on basis of the May 2003 bid of the IOA and the guarantee of the Union Government in conjunction with the Delhi Government to bear the financial liability including underwriting any shortfall between revenue and expenditure.

The IOA bid of Mat 2003 estimated an all-inclusive cost of just Rs 1200 crore after setting off operational expenses against estimated revenues from hosting the Games. By contrast, the overall budget estimate for the Games for both the Union and the Delhi Government, including MCD, NDMC and other agencies shot up to Rs 18,532 crore in October 2010. This excludes investments by other agencies such as DMRC, AAI, DIAL on allied infrastructure.

The CAG report noted that the deviation from the provisions of the original May 2003 bid gave free hand to Suresh Kalmadi and his team as there was no single point authority to handle multiple agencies involved. There was no accountability with adequate mandate to ensure all deliverables in time, to cost and to specified quality standard. Delays caused increased in cost and facilitated arbitrary allocation of contracts and sub-contracts.

The absence of a single point authority and accountability for the Games was compounded by the early disbandment of the Finance Sub-Committee of the Group of Ministers.

The internal control and decision making structure and documentation within the OC were highly inadequate.

The CAG report complimented the Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit on the improved appearances of city roads, but said they came at an unjustifiable prices – more than Rs 100 crores were wasted, it states. “The street-scaping and beautification project was ill-conceived without a broad over-arching vision and perspective of how this would impact urban design,” the report said, adding that consultants were hired in an “arbitrary and non-transparent fashion” without any estimates or budgets.

Dikshit is also questioned about her decision to allow imported street lights for some roads. This led to a waste of Rs 30 crores, according to the auditors, largely because the rates of the imported lights were “much higher than the fair price.” The Cabinet Secretary of the Delhi government, PK Tripathi, has denied these charges earlier this week.

The CAG report said that it checked out at least seven roads and flyovers completed before the Games.  “There were irregularities in how the projects were awarded.” How crass the manipulations were is reflected in this finding – “correction fluid was used in some tenders.”

The Shunglu panel report had said that the Delhi government’s plan of having a ‘green’ Delhi was flawed and that there was an overall wastage of Rs 256 crore in street lighting, street scaping etc, whereas the savings could have been to the tune of Rs 159 crore.

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